June 3, 2014

Question: When does the NYT want us to care about the impact of gun control laws on a convicted felon?

Answer: When it's an occasion to portray Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as lacking in empathy.

The ex-Marine, Eric Pizer, seeks a pardon because he aches with remorse, and because his one-punch felony conviction means that he cannot possess or own a gun, disqualifying him from his desired career in law enforcement. He has only one smudge on his record....

With the Pizer case emerging as a cause célèbre in Wisconsin, the governor has defended his no-pardon policy, saying that he sees no reason to “undermine” the criminal justice system — no matter that pardons were frequently granted by at least the last five governors before him.

In December, Mr. Walker told a reporter from WKOW-TV in Madison that there were thousands of convicted felons “who probably have a compelling case to be made that we don’t know about.”

68 comments:

traditionalguy said...

The Dems are after Scott Walker big time.

This is only way to harm a righteous GOP candidate that never gets any Dem/progressive votes anyway. The trick is create a big story that blackens his name among his right wing supporters. Then they will not bother to turn out to vote.

Zedediah Grimm said...

So a felon could be a cop if only he/she were not barred from owning a gun? What could possibly go wrong?
In these days of the militarization of police forces, from the EPA down to the Mayberry RFD Police Department, do we really want violent felons on the force?
Oh wait. The NYT is making this argument? Never mind ...

Scott M said...

My need for empathy among our leaders is dropped into the several million degrees (hat-tip Algore) of the Earth's core.

Can we just find a few that are effective first, then pick one that seems like he gives a shit what people think second?

Thorley Winston said...

I’m curious if the “one punch” this guy threw was at his wife’s face, how many of these folks would still be clamoring to give the guy a chance to wear a badge and a gun.

Rob McLean said...

The NY Times hates guns and Marines, but if there's a way to use them in a way that makes a Republican look bad...to the barricades...!

Shanna said...

The writing on this article is hilarious:

The punch they shared had come out of who knows where, maybe Iraq, to still a long-ago liquid night.

Tibore said...

Walker would be portrayed badly no matter what he'd do in this case. If he did pardon the man, the same people would've been saying he put a gun in a felon's hands.

The Pizer case has merits beyond Walker's stance and the NYTimes story, but let's be honest: The NYT and their readership just looks on this as a stick to hit Walker with.

TosaGuy said...

No matter what Governor Walker does regarding pardons -- none, some, all -- the left will run sort of sob or outrage story about someone who didn't get a pardon or did get one.

Sorry Marine, should have remembered the discipline the Corps supposed instilled in you.

Beach Brutus said...

violent felony conviction = "smudge"

garage mahal said...

the governor has defended his no-pardon policy, saying that he sees no reason to “undermine” the criminal justice system

Pardons are a component of the criminal justice system. Idiot.

SJ said...

For the uninitiated, this form of gun-control law likely prohibits possession of a gun, as well as ownership.

It also likely has its roots in the Gun Control Act of 1968.

That Act had a prohibition on possession of firearms by anyone convicted of crime which could be punished by more than one year in prison.

Big Mike said...

I might meet Eric Pizer tomorrow and think that he's a real stand-up kind of guy who would make a fine police officer. But based on the information in front of me right now, and thinking of recent cases where police officers let their emotions get away from them and a civilian was injured or killed, I'd rather he chose some other line of work.

PatHMV said...

It's federal law, generally, that prohibits convicted felons from carrying guns. I wonder if Gov. Walkers' critics support repeal of that law?

When I worked as a pardon attorney for our state's governor, restoration of gun rights was the single most common reason that folks out of prison wanted their record cleared by a pardon. Under state law, felons lost gun rights for 10 years, and the local sheriff was empowered to grant the right to carry firearms within that 10 year period. But federal law has a flat, life-time ban. Federal law also allows for a waiver of that ban by the Secretary of Interior, but the federal budget has a routine provision, inserted in every budget, that prohibits any funds from being used to process or grant such waivers.

SJ said...

For fun and giggles, compare the Marine to a guy who went to a gun range in MA, and almost became a felon.

Because he might have left the range with an ammunition component stuck to his boot, and he did not have a MA Gun License.

Becuase, if a resident or visitor to Massachusetts doesn't have a State-issued please-may-I-own-a-gun-or-possess-ammunition-or-components license, it is a felony for them to possess firearms, ammunition, or ammunition components outside of a license gun range.

So, is a Marine who got in a fight (and was convicted) more sympathetic than a guy who left a gun range with a piece of brass in his boot?

Remember, the Federal code forbids gun ownership to anyone who is convicted of a crime which is classified as a felony, or for which imprisonment of more than 1 year is a possible punishment.

Thus, overly-strict Massachusetts State Law could deny a guy the right to own/use a firearm anywhere in the U.S., under Federal Law.

Hunter McDaniel said...

"Pardons are a component of the criminal justice system. Idiot."

Yeah, like with Marc Rich

Marty Keller said...

I think the issue here is the predictable anything-goes tactics of the sophomoric thinkers at "progressive"/rent-seeker mouthpieces like the New York Times who apparently are so fearful of mild-mannered dissenters like Scott Walker that they are willing to engage in logical inconsistencies to stop them. Hilarious, as always. If only the conservatives were actually as effective as the Times and their ilk seem to fear!

Curious George said...

"garage mahal said...
the governor has defended his no-pardon policy, saying that he sees no reason to “undermine” the criminal justice system

Pardons are a component of the criminal justice system. Idiot."

There is nothing wrong with his statement, and you are such a tool.

halojones-fan said...

Note that they aren't saying he should own a gun for his own personal use; they're just saying he should be allowed to be a police officer. This is not actually a statement of support for gun rights.

Hagar said...

That is so, but these laws are still stupid.

In Illinois, years ago, a man in Peoria was convicted of embezzlement, and they took away his antique gun collection on the grounds that as a convicted felon he could not own guns.

But embezzlement is not a violent crime, so the punishment is not related. I have never understood these Americans and their ideas about "law." Written statutes apparently trumps all, whether they make sense or not.

(According to "Pawn Star" Rick Harrison, antique guns (made before 1900) is not even considered firearms in Federal law.)

Curious George said...

"garage mahal said...
the governor has defended his no-pardon policy, saying that he sees no reason to “undermine” the criminal justice system

Pardons are a component of the criminal justice system. Idiot."

Man you are such a tool.

whiskey said...

"Pardons are a component of the criminal justice system. Idiot."

A component that can undermine the rest of the system. It's not Walker who's the idiot.

Thorley Winston said...

It may just be me but every time I see this guy or his supporters or Walker’s detractors refer to him as a “marine,” it makes me less sympathetic to his case because it appears that he’s using his former service to try to garner preferential treatment.


Be a man, own up to what you did. Take your lumps and accept that some decisions – particularly those that involve physically hurting other people – can irrevocably change your life.

Eric said...

All in for Hillary!

The Crack Emcee said...

"The Dems are after Scott Walker big time."

"The NYT and their readership just looks on this as a stick to hit Walker with."

I am so glad no one here is "playing the victim" because that would be a let down. The supporters of the position there can be no reparations for over a century of poll taxes, literacy tests, violence, terrorism, and economic intimidation to keep blacks from voting, can't the same people crying because one man with a staff full of racists, in the political party identified with racism, is being treated relentlessly one time in American history, can they?

It just wouldn't look good,...

Dr Weevil said...

M.C. ButtCrack seems to have omitted a few necessary words from his last comment. Specifically, "in the political party identified with racism" should read "in the political party falsely and slanderously identified with racism by the lying assholes of the other party". Yes, I know the ButtCrack claims to be a Republican himself: as I said, "by the lying assholes of the other party".

broomhandle said...

"garage mahal said...
the governor has defended his no-pardon policy, saying that he sees no reason to “undermine” the criminal justice system

Pardons are a component of the criminal justice system. Idiot."

Dude, you get made by Craftsman all day long.

broomhandle said...

" for over a century of poll taxes, literacy tests, violence, terrorism, and economic intimidation to keep blacks from voting, can't the same people crying because one man with a staff full of racists, in the political party identified with racism"

Walker isn't a Democrat...

Drago said...

crack: "...poll taxes, literacy tests, violence, terrorism, and economic intimidation to keep blacks from voting.."

Feel free to identify the dates and location when you were subject to:
1) Poll taxes
2) literacy tests
3) violence (make sure you stipulate that you were the victim and not the perpetrator since we know what the stats are for that)
4) terrorism
5) economic intimidation to keep you from voting

Thanks in advance for not having a coherent or even on point answer.

And thanks as well for your indefatigable performance artistry on this blog.

garage mahal said...

Man you are such a tool.?

Perhaps. But it doesn't change the factual nature of my comment. Pardons ARE a part of the wisconsin criminal justice system. You can even look this up.

No surprise that neither you or our dim-witted governor appear to be aware of this fact.

SJ said...

@Hagar,

I'd normally say that America is a nation of laws, and not a nations of customs and powerful men...

But our current President seems determined to change that.

American gun law is a mix of emotion, reactions to high-visibility crimes, and attempts to disarm racial minorities. Typically, the laws aren't rolled back, even when they make no sense.

(The Sullivan Laws of late-1800s New York were an attempt to disarm Irish gangs. Earlier, various State legislatures wanted to disarm Blacks, both before and after slavery ended in the U.S.
There was no Federal Law until the National Firearms Act of 1934, which was mostly a response to Prohibition-era Gangsters. In 1968, another Federal Law was put in place after a rash of political assassinations in the 60s.)

The Crack Emcee said...

Dr Weevil,

M.C. ButtCrack seems to have omitted a few necessary words from his last comment. Specifically, "in the political party identified with racism" should read "in the political party falsely and slanderously identified with racism by the lying assholes of the other party".

Yeah, that's your only problem - mere public relations. ROTFLMAO!!!!

Yes, I know the ButtCrack claims to be a Republican himself,…

And I'd have a really, really hard time looking at a picture of Lincoln and standing against black people's success in this country.

The Crack Emcee said...

broomhandle,

"Walker isn't a Democrat…"

His staff says he is - circa 1957,...

Francisco D said...

How deliciously ironic that Garbage calls another poster an idiot. I read a lot of different blogs and Garbage is about average in the sanity department for liberals. (It's a low standard). He seems well below average in the intelligence department. Just an observation.

SJ said...

@garage,

quick question.

What's the difference between aware of the Pardon, but decides not to use it

and

not aware of the Pardon?

Because the second phrase describes be "dim-witted".

But the first phrase appears to be true, and you are calling those people "dim-witted."

Which makes you look a little dense, to me.

Francisco D said...

How deliciously ironic that Garbage calls another poster an idiot. I read a lot of different blogs and Garbage is about average in the sanity department for liberals. (It's a low standard). He seems well below average in the intelligence department. Just an observation.

Krumhorn said...

Perhaps. But it doesn't change the factual nature of my comment. Pardons ARE a part of the wisconsin criminal justice system. You can even look this up.

No surprise that neither you or our dim-witted governor appear to be aware of this fact.


That statement is both factually and legally wrong. The authority for the governor to pardon, at his or her complete and unreviewable discretion, is in Article V of the state constitution, labeled the Executive. A pardon in WI isn't a review of the judgement of the court, but rather, an exercise of executive authority to mitigate (or not carry out) the punishment.

It forgives the disabilities associated with the conviction, not the crime.

The criminal justice system has it's own statutory regime of which the pardon authority is not a part.

Gov Walker is completely within the prerogatives of his office to use or not use that constitutional authority as he sees fit. In the same way, BillyBoy pardoned Marc Rich and those donors to Hillary's campaign for reasons that had absolutely nothing to do with the justice system.

However, you're a hater, and facts and the law won't deter you.

- Krumhorn

Paco Wové said...

In its need to present Walker in the worst possible light, the NYT seems to have taken some liberties with its "undermining" paraphrase – the original appears to be

"To me, the only people who are seeking pardons are people who have been guilty of a crime and I have a hard time undermining the actions of a jury and of a court."

...but I guess Garage can't nurse his bottomless pathological anti-Walker butthurt if he doesn't wrench it out of context.

Borepatch said...

SJ said: For fun and giggles, compare the Marine to a guy who went to a gun range in MA, and almost became a felon.

I was that guy.

I'm a big advocate of gun rights and a big opponent of arbitrary government abuse through hard to understand, confusing laws that are perhaps intended to entangle the law abiding.

I'm not sure that this is what happened with this Marine. The Massachusetts gun laws that almost caught me up are what our hostess could describe to us as , things that are forbidden by statute. What the Marine seems to have engaged in are what she could describe to us as , things that are bad in an of themselves.

People get hurt or die in fist fights, and everyone knows this. Everyone.

I'm sorry that he's a Prohibited Person and can't own guns, and it's good to see that he feels terrible about this. But it's hard to describe him as without using the term "violent felon", and the prohibition of firearms ownership by that class of people goes way back and is supported by a lot of people in this country.

Including the NRA. And me.

P.S. Massachusetts gun laws are insane, and cannot possibly be described as "common sense", and are a large part of why I live in Georgia.

Drago said...

Paco: "...but I guess Garage can't nurse his bottomless pathological anti-Walker butthurt if he doesn't wrench it out of context."

Garage is the media matters junior varsity when it comes to taking things out of context.

Given his intelligence level though, the results are pretty much precisely what you'd expect.

garage mahal said...

The authority for the governor to pardon, at his or her complete and unreviewable discretion, is in Article V of the state constitution, labeled the Executive

So the State Constitution "undermines" the criminal justice system? The U.S. Constitution undermines it?

Hamilton argued there should be "easy access" to mercy. Walker is the kind of guy the Founders would have hated.

garage mahal said...


...but I guess Garage can't nurse his bottomless pathological anti-Walker butthurt if he doesn't wrench it out of context


Here is Walker's quote:

"The only people seeking pardons are people who are guilty and I don't have any reason to undermine the criminal justice system," said Gov. Walker.

30yearProf said...

Pardons are always "political."

Minnesota, right next door to Wisconsin and more anti-gun, has a automatic procedure for restoration of most civil rights and a non-partisan court procedure for restoration of gun rights. It works. Minn. Stat. sec. 609.165, subdivision 1d.

Krumhorn said...

So the State Constitution "undermines" the criminal justice system? The U.S. Constitution undermines it?

Hamilton argued there should be "easy access" to mercy. Walker is the kind of guy the Founders would have hated.


Hahaha....just look at the bright side.. Jefferson and Madison would have loved him. Far better company.

Hamilton was a big gub'ment tax and spend kinda guy.

Your sophistry is puerile. The constitution doesn't undermine anything. Walker is merely demonstrating a rational understanding that the exercise of his constitutional authority could easily undermine the criminal justice system....which is far more respect for the law than that shown by the progs.

Like most progs, you're a hater so I don't really expect you to appreciate restraint in the exercise of power in matters other than national security.

- Krumhorn

garage mahal said...

Walker won't pardon anyone for any reason whatsoever. He isn't using restraint. He is breaking with the founding principles of this country. And I don't think he even understands the concept. No surprise there.

Noah said...

Question: When does a constitutional law professor interpret a story about forgiveness in the criminal justice system and separation of powers as indicative of media bias? Answer: Apparently when it's an occasion to skirt the issue of whether the governor of the state in which she teaches understands issues central to the legal system.

Tip: start by addressing the issue of whether pardons categorically "undermine" the criminal justice system, as claimed by Gov. Walker. How this story fits into NYT bias is subsidiary and beneath someone of your profession. Save that for the mouth breathers in their parent's basement.

Curious George said...

"garage mahal said...
Walker won't pardon anyone for any reason whatsoever. He isn't using restraint. He is breaking with the founding principles of this country. And I don't think he even understands the concept. No surprise there."

garage, after another miserable fail decide, not surprisingly, to doble down with this bit of stupidity.

Seriosuly Corky, you really think that one of the the founding principles of this country is for governors to provide pardons?

Drago said...

garage: " Walker won't pardon anyone for any reason whatsoever. He isn't using restraint."

garage self-refutes in just 2 quick sentences.

garage: "He is breaking with the founding principles of this country."

That an obama-ite can write that sentence at this point in time displays a lack of self-awareness at levels heretofore unseen.

garage mahal said...

Seriosuly Corky, you really think that one of the the founding principles of this country is for governors to provide pardons?

Pardon power is in the U.S. Constitution, yes. Walker does not believe in pardon power. Or at least from what he understands of it.

SGT Ted said...

Since when do Progressives give a shit about the rule of law?

madisonfella said...

If Dr. Curious Drago Grimm thinks that pardons have nothing at all to do with criminals nor the justice system then what are pardons connected to? The DOT? Badgercare? WEDC? Veteran Affairs?


Pffft. That guy is such a huge tool it takes two dozen sockpuppets to contain it all. Pretty obvious what his agenda is.

tim maguire said...

Lately I've been thinking it would be neat to be a family doctor. Maybe the New York Times will write an article urging someone to pardon my decision not to go to medical school.

Dr Weevil said...

"Walker does not believe in pardon power." - bald-faced lie.

"Walker does not believe he is obligated to use his pardon power ever, or that he should use it in any case he has seen so far." - simple and obvious truth.

People who can't tell the difference between these two things - fools.

People who can tell the difference between them but pretend they are the same for political advantage - lying swine.

SJ said...

@borepatch,

I'm pretty clear on the distinction between a person convicted of a violent felony and a person convicted of a paperwork-felony.

If the NYT wanted to bring to light the odd ways in which felony convictions can deny a person the right to (legallY) keep and bear arms, they could have picked lots of more-sympathetic examples*.

If the NYT wanted to highlight the many ways in which the ordinary person can be convicted of a felony and lose many legal rights, they could have picked many other sympathetic examples**.

But no, the NYT chose the case of someone who was convicted of a felonious act of violence.

Because...I can't tell why.

Unless it was to score political points.

----------------------------
*Like the Massachusetts gun laws which you mentioned, and almost ran afoul of. Or the Chicago laws which make it a risky proposition for an out-of-State person to drive through town with ammunition/firearms in their trunk.

**Probably from the Five Felonies a Day book...

madisonfella said...

"Walker does not believe in pardon power." - bald-faced lie

The only time that quote appeared in this thread was when Dr. Curious Drago Grimm wrote it.

Does he really think someone said that or is he getting his talking points confused again? Guess it is difficult to keep things straight when you're logging in and out of so many different blogger accounts.

madisonfella said...

Since when do Progressives give a shit about the rule of law

Since when was Cliven Bundy a progressive?

madisonfella said...

Whoops. My bad. Ctrl-F didn't find the phrase because it had quotes around it.

garage mahal said...

Does Dr Weevil advocate shitting on veterans who served their country with honor? Evidence suggests yes!

garage mahal said...

"Walker does not believe in pardon power." - bald-faced lie.

Walker said he no plans on issuing any pardons while in office. He is not accepting any pardon applications. He has mothballed the state’s Pardon Advisory Board. Even a 3rd grader would conclude he doesn't believe in the pardon process. But you're no 3rd grader, are you?

Dr Weevil said...

Walker chooses not to exercise one of his powers, and gm asserts that that's the same thing as "not believing" that he has that power.

Presidents have the power to invade foreign countries, as long as they notify Congress within a certain amount of time. Obama has not chosen to invade Canada or Mexico (yet). Does that mean he doesn't think he has that power, or that he doesn't think it advisable to use that power in either of these hypothetical cases? Any fool can see the difference. Can gm?

Once again, gm is acting like (or perhaps as) a moron, writing things that even he should know are obviously untrue, probably for pay, definitely for political purposes.

Dr Weevil said...

I wonder if gm can name any honorably-discharged veteran that I have advocated 'shitting on' either metaphorically or literally? Actually, I don't wonder: he knows it's a lie, and he doesn't mind lying, in fact he rather revels in it, since he is (very probably) paid to do so.

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Patrick Sanders said...

This is why the GCA of 1968 is so wrong. A lifetime ban from owning or possessing firearms is in many cases unwarranted. I do not know all of the circumstances around the punch, but it happened 10 years ago. If he has walked the straight and narrow for 10 years, it is unlikely that he will run amok now.

Or to put it another way, how would you like to have your civil rights taken away for life for something as simple as making a mistake in balancing your checking account. In many states, writing a bad check would be enough to disqualify you from owning a firearm.

dada said...

Hey, Pizer, here's an idea, move to NYC or go to work for the Feds, those are the folks that give a crap what the Times thinks.
Too bad you won't be a cop where you live now, and I'm sure they aren't worried about as there are probably hundreds of applicants that are not felons and more than qualified than you are otherwise as well.

Jim said...

Misquoting someone intentionally to make your point GM? He did not say your "criminal justice system: Walkers exact quote from the article was "I just look at (granting pardons) and say that's not really why I ran for office. It's not what I campaigned on. It's not what I talked about," the governor said. "To me, the only people who are seeking pardons are people who have been guilty of a crime and I have a hard time undermining the actions of a jury and of a court."

Unknown said...

crack a mack sez

----broomhandle,

"Walker isn't a Democrat…"

His staff says he is - circa 1957,…----

Pretty nifty trick since Walker was born in 1967

Just a raving loon that crack a mack.


Unknown said...

----Misquoting someone intentionally to make your point GM? ……..and I have a hard time undermining the actions of a jury and of a court."----

Wow that's poisonously mendacious even by GM standards. I guess we have to fact check every damn thing he says.

Lee Reynolds said...

Not knowing the details of this man's case, I suspect this story says more about the over-use of felony charges than it does anything else.

Once upon a time, when common sense was more common, a felony charge meant you had done something truly terrible.

Today, prosecutors throw felony charges at people who are guilty of mild misdemeanors as the opening shot in a plea-bargain negotiation. Those who refuse to plea bargain, and are convicted, get a felony on their record that doesn't belong.

Those who do plea-bargain, get a misdemeanor, but without ever going to trial and actually being convicted of such by a jury of their peers.

Due process is thus eroded.

Doubting Richard said...

To paraphrase my mother, if the previous five governors had jumped off a cliff, should Governor Walker do likewise?