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January 23, 2013 at 5:17 PM

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More on life-without-parole prisoner Joseph Wharton

Our editorial on clemency and Washington’s three-strikes prisoners mentions one such prisoner, Joseph Wharton, who was recommended for clemency by the Washington State Clemency and Pardons Board. His petition was supported by King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg and in person Dec. 7 by the judge who tried, convicted and sentenced him, Michael Fox, now retired from King County Superior Court.

In the hearing Fox says Wharton’s three crimes were non-violent “robberies by note”—all crimes, to be sure, but not deserving of a life sentence. Still, Fox says, “I imposed the sentence I was required to impose by law, which was life in prison without any possibility of release.”

The judge says the life sentence for Wharton “always disturbed me because I felt it was out of proportion to the acts committed.”

You can watch the hearing below from TVW.


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