Does Sirhan Sirhan deserve mercy?
Under most circumstances, Newsom’s decision would be easy enough. Politicians haven’t often paid a price for adopting a “lock ’em up and throw away the key” attitude, particularly when backed by the angry families of victims. California, after all, was the original “tough on crime” state. But the parole recommendation has support from another family member — Robert F. Kennedy Jr. — who has proclaimed his belief in Sirhan’s innocence. And this moment arrives after years of campaigning by progressive activists against the perils of overincarceration. Indeed, one reason Sirhan’s application has made it this far after years of rejection is that the Los Angeles district attorney, who ran on a reform platform, didn’t oppose it — the office no longer testifies in parole hearings, saying the prosecutor’s role ends at sentencing.