Biden, pardons and commutations


Sir, – Last week, Orlando Hall was executed by lethal injection because Donald Trump did not grant him clemency.

This week, Mr Trump pardoned a turkey named Corn to mark Thanksgiving. Instead of being plucked, stuffed and roasted the fortunate bird will retire to a life of ease in Iowa.

When Joe Biden is inaugurated as president of the United States there will be around 50 prisoners left on federal death row. He will have the power to spare their lives. To sign the necessary commutation letters would take him less than four minutes.

Mr Biden often quotes Seamus Heaney. In January he will have the chance to make “hope and history rhyme” by showing mercy to those the state decided to kill. It would be an inspirational gesture if he seized the moment and put an immediate end to an abhorrent practice.

Prof IAN


School of Law,

University College Dublin,


Dublin 4.