Incoming Philadelphia Bar Chancellor Confirms Pardon Reform
Will Remain An Association Priority In 2020
December 14, 2019. The Chancellor-Elect of the Philadelphia Bar Association, the Honorable A. Michael Snyder, announced yesterday that working with the Board of Pardons and its leadership to fundamentally change the pardon process in Pennsylvania will remain a top priority for the Association in 2020. Judge Snyder becomes Chancellor of the Association on January 1.
Addressing the lawyers, judges and others who gathered in the Grand Ballroom of Philadelphia’s Bellevue Hotel on December 13 for the Association’s Annual Meeting, Judge Snyder referred with pride to the many efforts that the Bar Association had led to increase access to justice by those who do not have the ability to pay for lawyers. Among the efforts he highlighted was the Association’s work to reform the policies and procedures that regulate how people can apply to the Governor for clemency (pardons and commutations of their sentences).
“The accomplishments of this Association in this past year that furthered Justice For All,” said Judge Snyder, “included our efforts in successfully working with the Lieutenant Governor, the Attorney General, the Secretary of the Board of Pardons, and the full Board of Pardons to reform the pardon process in Pennsylvania. As a result, today, tens of thousands of individuals and their families have a real hope of a fresh start – a hope that was only a distant dream last year at this time.” Over the past year, the Association’s Board of Governors under the leadership of Chancellor Rochelle Fedullo adopted three separate Resolutions – each approved by a unanimous vote – that called on the Board of Pardons and its leadership to fundamentally change the application form and the investigative process and to bring as many pardon applications as possible to a vote within one year.
“However,” the Judge continued, “the work in reforming the pardon and clemency process is not done. We will continue to make these efforts a priority during the coming year.”
The Board of Pardons continues to consider the Association’s recommendations that the Board of Pardons stop requiring applicants to reveal interactions they had with the juvenile court – a Resolution that was also adopted by the Board of Directors of the Allegheny County Bar Association – and to detail at length their current income, assets and wealth, facts that the Philadelphia Bar Association argues should have no applicability whatsoever to whether a person should be eligible for clemency.
You can download a PDF of the press release here.