The University of St. Thomas School of Law will host national scholars and legal professionals to discuss sentence commutations and the executive pardon power at its Law Journal symposium on Friday, April 20.

The symposium will begin at 8:45 a.m. in the Schulze Grand Atrium at the School of Law in downtown Minneapolis. The legal community and the public are invited to attend. Register here; lunch will be provided for participants who preregister.

Mark Osler

Mark Osler

In an era of mandatory sentencing and budget shortfalls, the pardon power and sentence commutations again may become important components of criminal justice, according to School of Law professor Mark Osler, the faculty adviser for the symposium.

The St. Thomas Law Journal’s spring symposium gathers both those inside and outside of the criminal justice system who are working to help make sentence commutations an effective and appropriate tool in today’s legal atmosphere. They also are working to bring attention to the minimal use of the pardon power in today’s political environment. This symposium brings together varying perspectives on the role, and combines them with a real-life story of giving and receiving a sentence commutation.

Robert Ehrlich

Robert Ehrlich

The keynote speaker is Gov. Robert Ehrlich, former congressman and governor of Maryland, who recently contributed “A Broken System, And Too Few Pardons,” to the New York Times. Ehrlich is the author of Turn This Car Around: The Roadmap to Restoring America.

Judge David Doty

Judge David Doty

The symposium also will feature panels of experts on a range of pardon-related topics, including the final panel of the day, “One Commutation: Three Perspectives.” That panel brings together Judge David Doty of the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota with Serena Nunn, who was sentenced by Doty and later received a commutation that the judge supported. The prosecutor on the case, Hennepin County Prosecutor Denise D. Reilly, also will participate in the panel discussion.

Application has been made for CLE credit.