Legally di­min­ish­ing hero­ism?

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY -

THE ED­I­TOR, Sir: I AM a bit puz­zled at the cur­rent move to clear the crim­i­nal records of some of our na­tional he­roes, et al. Since Caribbean his­tory was not a bright spot in my aca­demic record and I am no lawyer, I’ll ask ques­tions for the most part.

Is there no dif­fer­ence between hav­ing your record ex­punged and be­ing par­doned? As I un­der­stand the is­sues (per­haps in ig­no­rance), when a crim­i­nal record is ex­punged, the con­vic­tion and sen­tence are as­sumed as bona fide, but the ac­cused, af­ter a span of time and af­ter hon­our­ing the sen­tence of the court, is given a clean slate for the fu­ture.

Isn’t a par­don a species of mercy and, thus, strictly speak­ing, not a jus­tice is­sue? So again, con­vic­tion and sen­tence are not be­ing con­tested, but isn’t the jury still out on the point that ‘an im­moral law is still a law’?

What does ei­ther hav­ing one’s crim­i­nal record ex­punged or be­ing par­doned say about the cal­i­bre of the ac­tivism of said he­roes and oth­ers, if any­thing?

Isn’t a cen­tral part of the cel­e­brated hero­ism or ex­tra­or­di­nary courage of our he­roes and oth­ers the fact of con­sciously break­ing [im­moral] laws re­gard­less of cost?

Does Tacky re­ally have a crim­i­nal record?

A care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion of my un­in­formed ques­tions could pos­si­bly save our na­tion some in­tel­lec­tual em­bar­rass­ment in fu­ture. CLIN­TON CHISHOLM clintchis@ya­hoo.com

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