Good for Gov. Bob McDonnell, that he’s signed a pardon for Jonathan Montgomery, a young man sent away to prison in 2008 based on lies that Virginia’s criminal justice system finally recognized. I wrote about this injustice last week.
From the Richmond Times Dispatch:
Speaking about the granting of the pardon, Governor McDonnell said, “It is a travesty of justice when an innocent person is confined in a jail or prison, and it should never occur in our society. Our office became aware of Mr. Montgomery’s situation last week. Since that time members of my staff, along with the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission, the Mid-Atlantic Actual Innocence Project, the Hampton Police Department, the Hampton Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, the Office of the Attorney General, the Virginia Department of Corrections and the Virginia State Police have worked diligently to gather all necessary information in this case and review the matter thoroughly. I asked Mr. Montgomery’s attorneys to file a petition for a pardon with our office, as that action would allow me to exercise my gubernatorial authority and take immediate action. We received that petition at 10pm last night, and began reviewing it immediately.
The law should be changed in some way, however, so that innocent people who are wrongfully convicted can get relief other than through emergency pardons by the governor. McDonnell did the right thing; that it took action from him to do this is not necessarily the right system.
More changes to Virginia’s 21-day rule are in order.
(h/t to the blogger here Chuck)