Can Pa. governor pardon so many criminals?

Folks at a coffee shop in Carlisle were not shy about sharing their thoughts on former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour.

“If I had been a victim, I would be very frightened. If I was the family member of a victim I would be very concerned,” one person said.

Corky Goldstein was not at a loss for words, either. He is a local attorney who is upset that Barbour pardoned or gave medical releases to nearly 200 criminals, including convicted killers, during his last days in office.

“In one case a man, premeditated, shot his ex-girlfriend right between the eye,” Goldstein said.

Not that he is against pardons, but Goldstein thinks there should be a better process for governors.

“To take away the power given to them individually without going through the process, I think that's the most appropriate thing to do in the future because it undermines the rule of law and it certainly undermined the trust in the legal system,” Goldstein said.

Pennsylvania's governors can pardon criminals. Gov. Tom Corbett has already signed 40 pardons, but none for a criminal with a life sentence, and former governor Ed Rendell commuted the sentences of five people serving life terms.

The Board must recommend all pardons, but the governor can appoint three members to it.

One board official told us that no departing Pennsylvania governor has ever pardoned as many hardened criminals as Barbour did this week.

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