Democratic Senate candidate and current Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania John Fetterman has a long and controversial history with criminal justice, and he is notoriously soft on crime.
In 2021, Fetterman was the only vote on the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons to release convicted murderer Alexis Rodriguez from his life sentence in prison. Rodriguez was locked up for first-degree murder in the brutal 1989 murder of Sean Daily, a high school junior and son of a Pennsylvania police officer. Rodriguez beat Daily with a bat and shot him in the back in what was said to be a revenge-motivated assault.
The victim’s family pleaded with the Board of Pardons not to release Rodriguez. Luckily after a 3-1 vote, the request for commutation was denied. Fetterman was the lone vote to release the murderer from prison.
Fetterman’s campaign said the convicted man’s release was supported by the Department of Corrections and the Philadelphia D.A.’s Office, and that Rodriguez had been rehabilitated in prison. The hearing to release him was held in December 2021. Fetterman wants to eliminate mandatory life sentences for those convicted of second-degree murder, according to FOX News. Nonetheless, he has not said if this laxity applies in cases of first-degree murder.
In a separate case in March of 2021, Fetterman voted to release John David Brookins, a man convicted for murdering a woman with a pair of scissors. Again, the vote was unsuccessful, with Fetterman casting the only vote to release the murderer.
A Republican political action committee, the Senate Leadership Fund, is running a TV advertisement that may help Fetterman’s opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz. The ad states that Fetterman is “trying to get as many criminals out of prison as he can.”
Fetterman has often stated that he ran in 2018 for lieutenant governor specifically to lead the Board of Pardons. His website states, “Since 2019, they’ve recommended more citizens for commutation than in the past 25 years combined.” Releasing violent murderers from prison is nothing to be proud of.
Fetterman has agreed to a televised debate with his opponent, Dr. Oz, which will take place on Oct. 25. This comes after Fetterman suffered a stroke in May which has affected his ability to speak coherently. The debate will be aired live throughout Pennsylvania.