Denver Bar Association
August 2001
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Pardon Me

Former DBA President Gives It Up For Justice

Presidential pardons require a serious and thoughtful exercise of executive discretion.

As Bill Clinton demonstrated earlier this year, this form of justice can be salutary to a democratic society if dispensed in an even-handed and objective fashion. Fame and fortune are irrelevant to the dispassionate exercise of the pardon. And to make the process more attractive, there is nothing like selling a few pardons in the lame duck weeks of your presidency to shore up some old campaign debts.

Denver Bar Association presidents should make equal use of the pardon, for the betterment of society. Former DBA Past President Susan Smith Fisher demonstrated her recognition of this important concept as she exercised the pardon power upon leaving office at the end of June. Perhaps more important than the pardons Susan passed out are the ones she did not: some conduct is simply unpardonable.

In the interest of justice, Susan pardoned the following for their crimes:


The entire Docket Committee for everything they have ever written (in-cluding Doug McQuiston's Valentine's Day articles).

Jim Leland, for never moving to Denver when he managed the Rockies.

The New Jersey Devils, for their very existence (and for thinking they could win the Stanley Cup).

Westword, for pretending it is qualified to report on any subject related to the law.

Anyone who put their briefcase on the tables in Judge Matsch's courtroom.

All judges who lost their temper in court last year. We know they didn't mean it.

Whoever decided that courtroom numbers and division numbers would not be the same.

Any lawyer who honestly forgot their phone was turned on while sitting in a courtroom. (She did not pardon anyone who answered the call.)

All sportscasters who used the word "particular" to describe a play, inning, quarter, season or player ("the Rockies hit Johnson hard in this particular inning": well, what other inning would we be talking about?).

Anyone who was late for a meeting at the bar office, provided their commute in Denver traffic was greater than one mile.

However, some misdeeds are simply unpardonable. Susan wisely turned down pardon applications from the following sinners:

Whoever designed the Saturday edition of the Rocky Mountain News/Denver Post. The city is full of people with twisted necks and dislocated elbows from trying to read the inside of the front page.

The Rockies and Broncos for raising ticket prices after having us pay for their new stadiums. The Avs also hiked prices into the unconscionable range, but at least they had the decency to pay for their own home.

The Colorado General Assembly for another typical legislative year.

Drivers who enter intersections without being sure they can clear the intersection before their light turns red.


Susan Smith Fisher for pardoning the entire Docket committee.

Hugh Hefner for still having fun.

George W. Bush for failing his course in English as a Second Language.

Any lawyer that has pierced anything their mothers would not pierce, that can be seen in public.

The idiots who not only don't turn off their cell phones at the insert here: (movie, concert, restaurant, ballgame, funeral service, etc.), but who, when the damn things inevitably ring, answer and talk in a loud voice.

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