Clean Slate

Clemency for 78 Ohio Convicts

After thousands of hours of his staff poring over details from individual cases, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has approved clemency in 78 criminal cases, including the commutation of Willie Knighten Jr.'s life sentence for a high-profile 1996 murder. Strickland considered 296 cases, meaning he approved 26 percent of his clemency requests. Strickland says he is not worried about political fallout from the unusually large number of clemencies—but his staff is. Nonetheless, he took pride in the decision and cited rehabilitation as his chief rationale: "In every case, these pardons have been granted to individuals who have completed their entire sentence, usually many years ago. ... The individuals granted pardons today have demonstrated that they have been rehabilitated and have assumed the responsibilities of citizenship."