EXECUTIVE CLEMENCY: COMPARATIVE AND EMPIRICAL PERSPECTIVES
(EDITED WITH ANDREW NOVAK)
Routledge, July 2020
Nearly every country in the world has a mechanism for executive clemency, which, though residual in most legal systems, serves as a vital due process safeguard and as an outlet for leniency in punishment. While the origins of clemency lie in the historical prerogative powers of once-absolute rulers, modern clemency laws and practices have evolved to be enormously varied. This volume brings comparative and empirical analysis to bear on executive clemency, building a sociological and political context around systematically-collected data on clemency laws, grants, and decision-making. Some jurisdictions have elaborate constitutional and legal structures for pardoning or commuting a sentence while virtually never doing so, while others have little formal process and yet grant clemency frequently. Using examples from Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the USA, this comparative analysis of the law and the practice of clemency sheds light on a frequently misunderstood executive power.
This book builds on existing academic scholarship and expands the limited geographical scope of prior research, which has tended to focus on North America, the UK, and Australia. It relays the latest state of knowledge on the topic and employs case studies, doctrinal legal analysis, historical research, and statements by clemency decision-making authorities, in explaining why clemency varies so considerably across global legal and political systems. In addition, it includes contributions encompassing international law, transitional justice, and innocence and wrongful convictions, as well as on jurisdictions that are historically under-researched.
The book will be of value to practitioners, academics, and students interested in the fields of human rights, criminal law, comparative criminal justice, and international relations.
LAST CHANCE FOR LIFE:
CLEMENCY IN SOUTHEAST ASIAN DEATH PENALTY CASES
Oxford University Press, March 2019
All five contemporary practitioners of the death penalty in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)— Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam— have performed executions on a regular basis over the past few decades. NGO Amnesty International currently classifies each of these nations as death penalty 'retentionists'. However, notwithstanding a common willingness to execute, the number of death sentences passed by courts that are reduced to a term of imprisonment, or where the prisoner is released from custody altogether, through grants of clemency by the executive branch of government, varies remarkably among these neighbouring political allies.
Last Chance for Life: Clemency in Southeast Asian Death Penalty Cases explores the patterns which explain why some countries in the region award clemency far more often than others in death penalty cases. Over the period under analysis from 1991 to 2016, the regional outliers were Thailand (with more than 95% of condemned prisoners receiving clemency after exhausting judicial appeals) and Singapore (with fewer than 1% of condemned prisoners receiving clemency). Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam fall at points in between these two extremes. What results is the first research monograph, anywhere in the world, to compare death penalty clemency across national borders using empirical methodology, the latter a systematic collection of clemency data in multiple jurisdictions using archival and 'elite' interview sources. Last Chance for Life is an authoritative resource for legal practitioners, criminal justice policy makers, scholars and activists throughout the ASEAN region and around the retentionist world.