Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Life with Hope! What a Concept.

They didn't say Arthur Tyler should go home tomorrow, which is what his lawyers asked them to do.

Nor did they say "Off with his head," which is what Matthew Leach, Sander Leach's grandson, wanted them to do.

Nor did they say he should live but never see the light of day again, which is what Tim McGinty and the gang at the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's office urged.

Instead, well, none of them thinks he should be killed.  Beyond that?  Well, none of them were quite ready to say.  

Eleven members of the Parole Board voted.  None said kill.  None said LWOP.  That's extraordinary. On the other hand, none said to cut him loose.  Nor did any of them say that he should get out some day.  

  • All of them agreed there's too much doubt about what Tyler did to kill him.  
  • All of them thought it mattered that McGinty didn't ask for death.
  • None of them wanted to decide what else to do with him.

See, here's the thing.  He hasn't been a good boy these 31 years that he's spent on the row.  He's broken a lot of rules over the years.   The list of his infractions runs somewhat over 3 pages in the report list his infractions.  

So six of the folks on the Board want him to have a hearing, now, to explain.  THEN they'll decide what to do.  The others think he needs two years in general population to prove he can behave himself before they'll decide.  You know, once he's going to be allowed to ask for parole, he has to prove that he's worthy of asking.

But here's the thing, and it's important and close to unprecedented.  They all want to give him a chance.  Life with hope.  (And, at least implicitly, the clear indication that the hope will be realized before long.)  Except, of course, it's not exactly their call.

The question is where it always is.  Because the Parole Board report has no formal consequence.  It's a recommendation with no legal force.  Just a hoop the legislator set up for folks to jump through.  Governor Kasich can do whatever he wants.

Flip-a-coin Strickland made that clear, overruling recommendations of death and of life with equal randomness.  


He's got just under a month to decide.

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