Thursday, December 09, 2010
A couple of weeks ago we called upon Governor Awesome (i.e., New Jersey's Governor Chris Christie) to free Brian Aitken, an honest man who ran afoul of New Jersey's ridiculous gun regulation. Governor Christie has now spoken on the subject for (I believe) the first time, and has said he will decide by Christmas:
Glenn Reynolds is on the case.
I sure think there's enough info available right now for a pardon, but I don't have a state to govern.
I think it's a positive sign that Christie isn't knee-jerking. A pardon is forever, and he's justified to take a few days to think this over.
I think I'm justified in expecting and even demanding a pardon in this case, but I know how stories can be twisted and I respect Christie for being diligent.
There are some pretty high stakes for Christie on this, if he pardons him and then he goes out and commits any sort of violent crime then Cristie can kiss goodbye any hopes of going on to higher office, and maybe even re-election.
But on the other hand I for one will entertain serious reservations, unless there are facts unknown, about any bid for national office that Christie might attempt down the road. This is a litmus test issue for a lot of gun rights supporters.
In my own state of Washington, Aitkin could have been driving with an loaded gun strapped to his thigh without a permit, and not violated any laws, as long as it was in plain site.
Wrong: you cannot have a loaded weapon inside a moving car in Washington without a carry permit. Don't try it. (Outside the car you may still be arrested but the charges will not stick.)
As for this guy in NJ, it sounds very much like he should receive a pardon. But the Governor has to do due diligence.
There are several types of pardons/clemency available. You can see a list on the sidebar here.
There are some that completely clear a record, before or after conviction, and some that don't.
Christie's diffidence here is a bit disconcerting. he sounds, not quite mealy-mouthed, but more unsure of himself than usual, and I think more than simply having not reviewed the case yet.
Christie actually looks a bit blind-sided, but at least he's promised a quick review. For good or bad, Christie knows how to decide.