"In the 13 years I served in the attorney general's office, I recall only one instance of a defendant violating a civil rights injunction — Mark Wahlberg," former prosecutor Judith Beals wrote this week in the Boston Globe.
I'm glad Mark Wahlberg has turned his life around. I've read that Hoa Trinh has forgiven him. But a public pardon is an extraordinary public act, requiring extraordinary circumstances because it essentially eliminates all effects of having ever been convicted. It is reserved to those who demonstrate "extraordinary contributions to society," requiring "extensive service to others performed, in part, as a means of restoring community and making amends." On this, I am not sold.
First, Wahlberg has never acknowledged the racial nature of his crimes. Even his pardon petition describes his serial pattern of racist violence as a "single episode" that took place while he was "under the influence of alcohol and narcotics." For a community that continues to confront racism and hate crime, we need acknowledgment and leadership, not denial.
[image via AP]