Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky's velvet glove sentence of 6 months, of which he'll serve only three months, to former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner after his rape conviction was no aberration. The case of Brian Banks, falsely convicted or rape, and who served five years, before exoneration, was quickly cited in contrast to that of Turner.
Not so long ago, the few groups working to achieve criminal justice reform were almost entirely traditional representatives of civil liberties or of prisoners' families. Conservative political groups were solidly in the "tough on crime" camp, and the only disagreement came on which of them most merited that label. Times have changed.
The majority of jurisdictions in the U.S. rely on bond schedules, which specifies monetary amounts accused persons must pay to be released pretrial, based on the charges they face. Many defendants on low-level charges who cannot afford bail plead guilty through negotiations before trial, solely in order to be released from jail.
At hundreds of thousands of tables on Thursday, as there have been for decades, there will be places set for mothers, daughters, fathers, sons, cousins, nieces and nephews who are still in prison. I can only imagine how these families must feel to see their President use his desperately needed clemency powers to pardon a turkey.