ACLU Applauds Louisiana Governor’s Action for ‘Leading With Humanity’ in Decision to Urge Pardons Board to Reconsider Clemency Petitions for 56 Death Row Inmates


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By Kristin Trent

BATON ROUGE, LA – The ACLU Friday commended Gov. of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, “for leading with humanity and using his constitutionally granted authority” in calling on the Louisiana Board of Pardons to reconsider the clemency petitions of 56 people on death row.

Yasmin Cader, deputy legal director at the ACLU and director of the Trone Center for Justice and Equality said, “To begin mending our archaic, broken, and faulty systems of punishment, we need more of the compassionate leadership Gov. Edwards demonstrated this week.”

The request from Gov. Edwards comes less than a month after the application review process was halted by the Louisiana Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Jeff Landry who disputed the clemency applications due to incorrect filing and issued a non-binding advisory opinion to the Pardon Board.

“We urge the Pardon Board to respond to the governor’s request by promptly reviewing the applications and standing up for principles of justice,” Cader said.

“The death penalty represents the worst excesses of the American legal system – it normalizes harsh sentences, perpetuates racial disparities, and wastes enormous financial resources on an inhumane punishment that fails to prevent violence and harm. It’s no different in Louisiana, where Black people are vastly overrepresented on death row and amongst those exonerated for wrongful convictions,” Cader said.

The decision to grant commutations to 56 people facing capital punishment to instead serve life in prison requires both the Pardon Board’s recommendation and the governor’s acceptance of the recommendation.

About The Author

Kristin Trent recently graduated from UC Davis with a degree in English. She is currently involved in production of Davis Media Access's local radio station KDRT 95.7 FM and hosts DCTV's In The Studio Series in addition to her work for The Vanguard. Currently pursuing a full-time position as a journalist, she is deeply devoted to environmental and social justice journalism.

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