STORY: New York Times editorial; "A very likely miscarriage of justice," published on January 3, 2012;

GIST: "The power to pardon is an essential means of justice, allowing a governor to right what the law got wrong. Gov. Jerry Brown of California has been asked to commute to time served the sentence of Shirley Ree Smith, who was convicted in 1997 of killing her grandson and has already served 10 years of a 15-years-to-life sentence. We urge the governor to commute her sentence so she does not now have to return to prison as a result of a misguided Supreme Court ruling. Ms. Smith was convicted of shaking her grandson to death. When the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturned her conviction in 2006, it found “no demonstrable support” for it. There was “no physical evidence” and “no other evidence” of the severe bleeding or swelling that are the most common signs of shaken baby syndrome. The court concluded “there has very likely been a miscarriage of justice in this case.” This fall, however, five years after Ms. Smith was released, the Supreme Court overruled the Ninth Circuit, which means that she must complete her sentence unless it is commuted. The Supreme Court acknowledged that “doubts about whether Smith is in fact guilty are understandable.”.........Ms. Smith has already served 10 years for a crime she likely did not commit. She should not now be made a victim of the Supreme Court’s pique."