Wasting Time: Pardoning Billy the Kid?

Apart from the potential to bring a little national attention to New Mexico and maybe stimulating a little tourist interest, I must confess that I just don’t get the following (via CNN):  Decision on possible Billy the Kid pardon expected by end of week.

The governor of New Mexico has until Friday to decide whether to pardon outlaw Billy the Kid in the killing of a sheriff.

As of last week, Gov. Bill Richardson had received about 400 responses on a special website dedicated to answering a generations-old question: Should outlaw Billy the Kid get a pardon in the killing of a sheriff?

Richardson, a Billy the Kid buff, is looking at an old promise by another governor, and not the Kid’s cold-blooded reputation, in deciding whether to issue a posthumous pardon, officials said.

One will grant that this is just PR and one supposes that the actual cost of the process is negligible.  But seriously, this has a certain cartoonish quality to it.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. john personna says:

    Probably amuses the heck out of Richardson that he’d be the governor to do it.

  2. Franklin says:

    Shouldn’t Richardson be doing something useful like promoting peace on the Korean peninsula?

  3. Alex Knapp says:

    Cue libertarian retort that it’s better that government waste its time on this than try to govern in 3…. 2….

  4. Mr. Prosser says:

    Pardon the Kid, pardon Jim Morrison, same-o, same-o. Who cares?