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The Montana Board of Pardons and Parole has voted against recommending clemency for Ronald Smith. Indeed a crime was committed 30 years ago and Ronald Smith and Rodney Munro were found guilty of shooting two Montana citizens. Ronald Smith pleaded guilty and asked for the death penalty. Rodney Munro accepted a plea bargain and has been out of prison since 1998. It seems to me that this is where "justice" is not clear at all.
I am not suggesting the crime was not serious and have much sympathy for the victims’ families. But there are other elements which weigh on the side of clemency for Ronald Smith. During his 30 years in prison (his co defendant served some 16 years) Mr. Smith has become an exemplary prisoner and has constantly shown remorse for his acts. He has earned the respect of those in contact with him during this time.
There were many witnesses to his good conduct at the clemency hearing. Ronald Smith was aged 24 in 1982 and is now 54. Over the years during the appeals process, it was established that he had very inadequate counsel from his defense lawyer but the death sentence was upheld nevertheless.
As Governor, you can prevent an execution which would (...)