By News Staff
BOSTON (AP) - Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is avoiding the political pitfalls that come with the power to grant clemency, rejecting the only opportunity he's had to do so.
Although the state constitution allows the governor to grant pardons and sentence commutations to inmates and other individuals, only one petition has made it to the Democrat's desk, since he took office in 2007. It was denied.
To be considered by the governor, petitions must first be reviewed and approved by the state Parole Board. The Governor's Council makes the final action on a petition.
The number of pardons has plummeted from a high of 477 in 1970 to just 70 during the entire decade of 1991-2001.
Since then, only Republican Gov. Jane Swift's seven pardons have gone through.