Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has already made it clear that he would like to abolish Louisiana's death penalty.  Edwards has about 7 months left in office.  And because he is 'termed out,' he isn't going to pull any punches to push through his agenda.

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There are currently 57 people on Louisiana's death row.  51 of those death row prisoners have now filed clemency petitions hoping good 'ol John Boy will commute their death sentences to life in prison without the possibility of parole before he leaves office.  Cecelia Kappel, Director of the Capital Appeals Project, is an attorney for several of the inmates that have filed clemency applications.


Kappel sees her opportunity.  She knows how Edwards feels about the death penalty. Edwards announced earlier this year his opposition to the death penalty.

“We knew as people that represent the guys on death row that we had to take this opportunity and file for clemency,” said Kappel.

She knows he can't run for governor again in the next election, so he has nothing to lose.  She knows her time is running out.  Kappel stated she hopes the pardon board will hold hearings in the fall. She hopes Edwards decides to commute the death sentences of the 51 inmates before he leaves office in early January.

“The Pardon Board will hopefully hear these cases and issue a recommendation that the governor can decide to either sign off on or not, and we hope that he signs off on them,” said Kappel.

A spokesperson for the governor says any applications submitted by the Board of Pardons for his approval are reviewed on a case by case basis before any decision is rendered.

Louisiana Attorney General and candidate for Louisiana governor, Jeff Landry, says he'll fight the clemency pleas.

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