April 6 update: Governor Jerry Brown has commuted Shirley Smith’s sentence. Shirley thanks everyone who wrote on her behalf, and I add congratulations to that.
I was expecting to hear by now from California Governor Jerry Brown about a possible pardon for Shirley Ree Smith (case summary), but there’s been no word yet.
Over the weekend, Shirley’s daughter Tomeka Smith told me they’re hoping to hear soon, because in a few weeks her mother will be taken back into custody—-but there’s still time for individuals to contact the governor’s office encouraging the pardon, as detailed below.
The Smith case continues to pop up in the press. On the bright side:
- The New York Times last week published an editorial in support of the pardon, under the title “A Very Likely Miscarriage of Justice.”
- Yesterday’s Los Angeles Times contained an editorial raising the larger question of child-death cases by A.C. Thompson, one of the Pro Publica reporters who reported on the subject last summer (his June story).
Distressingly, a bereaved grandmother in Fresno, California, has launched a campaign against the pardon, on the theory that Ms. Smith is guilty. You can read the press coverage here.
Meanwhile, the governor’s office makes it easy for individuals to voice their opinions on these questions. One click takes you to the contact page, at http://gov.ca.gov/m_contact.php
To make sure your comment is received in time, use the electronic form, which first asks for four pieces of information: Your first and last name, your email address, and the subject of your comment. Open the drop-down subject menu and select the “Pardon” item. The user interface is odd, because you then have to click the “Submit” button before you’re given a text box for comments, but if you soldier on, you can get there.