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The voters will come for you

Erick Erickson | Georgia Republicans are handing Democrats an exploitable issue


People prepare for the opening of the Georgia General Assembly in Atlanta. Associated Press/Photo by John Amis

The voters will come for you
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Voters always get the last word. On a whole range of issues, from immigration to education, voters are showing their anger.

It is not just the federal government that is failing. Nor is it just Democrats failing. In Georgia, Republicans are responsible for an egregious breach of trust directly related to the public’s safety.

Peter Mallory roams the streets of Atlanta. In 2012, a Superior Court Judge in Georgia sentenced Mallory to one thousand years in prison—that’s right, 1,000 years. Mallory, according to the judge, was the world’s most prolific collector of child pornography. He had over 26,000 pictures and videos. These were not just pictures and videos of naked children. These were pictures and videos of children being raped, tortured, and sexually abused in ways a normal mind cannot process. The descriptions of the videos are so vile that they have been redacted from the public record.

At trial, the district attorney also presented credible evidence that Mallory has a compulsion to engage with child pornography. The judge sentenced Mallory to one thousand years in prison to make sure he could never walk the streets again.

Seven years later, on appeal, the Georgia Court of Appeals ruled that the sentence was justified given the circumstances. Nevertheless, three weeks later the Georgia Board of Pardon and Parole released Peter Mallory. The Board claims Mallory earned enough “performance incentive credits” to reduce his thousand years to seven. Mallory entered a half-way house in Atlanta, Ga., otherwise free to roam the streets.

In Georgia, the Board of Pardon and Parole is an autonomous entity of the executive branch. The governor appoints its members and then has no power over them. The present governor, Brian Kemp, has only recently made his first appointment. Prior to leaving office, the former governor, Nathan Deal, packed the board , and it was those men and women who released Mallory. For several years, members of the judicial branch have warned there was a problem with the Board of Pardon and Parole, but to no effect.

A member of the Georgia Court of Appeals pointed me to a recent case in which the Board of Pardon and Parole released a sex predator and did not make him register as a sex offender. Only after releasing him did they attempt to fix their error. Unfortunately, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that, once pardoned, the Board cannot add stipulations to their pardon retroactively. There is a pattern with the Board of Pardon and Parole treating sexual predators lightly.

The only entity in Georgia that can exercise authority over the Board of Pardon and Parole is the state legislature. The legislature has the power to investigate, the power to budget, and the power to impeach. The Georgia General Assembly has chosen to budget for the Board, but has neither investigated nor impeached its members for their conduct. They have chosen instead to turn a blind eye.

Georgia’s Republicans feel very secure in their redistricting efforts. They have just passed new legislative boundaries that should guarantee their dominance for another decade as Georgia shifts slowly to the Democrats. The Republicans, however, have not really done much over the past decade in terms of real political leadership. In fact, until recently, many of the Republicans in the legislature were converted Democrats. Brian Kemp, the current governor, is the first Republican governor since Reconstruction who had not previously been a Democrat.

The Republican Party in Georgia has also faced a largely inept Democratic Party. But the Democratic Party of Stacey Abrams is hungry for a win and sees the changes in the state as pointing to a Democratic future. Peter Mallory did not become a campaign issue in 2020, but Republicans may yet have to answer for him.

Small stories like this have the potential to take on monumental importance. It is a compelling story that strikes at both the empathy of and competence of the governing party. If Republicans are unwilling or unable to keep families safe, Democrats have an exploitable issue. In Virginia, a month before the election, Terry McAuliffe uttered his famous line that parents should have no say in their children’s education. It fundamentally shifted the race to Glenn Youngkin.

In Georgia, a man believed to be the world’s most prolific collector of child pornography roams the streets of Atlanta. The state’s citizens are likely to remember that fact the next time they go into the voting booth.


Erick Erickson

Erick Erickson is a lawyer by training, has been a political campaign manager and consultant, helped start one of the premiere grassroots conservative websites in the world, served as a political contributor for CNN and Fox News, and hosts evening drive time on WSB Radio in Atlanta.

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Vox Clamantis

Let’s de-politicize this story. Mallory, 72, is a troubled man for whom Jesus died. It appears he personally never laid hands on anyone but is guilty of collecting images (pixels on a hard drive), and presumably lusting over them. Many folks with these compulsions were themselves victims of abuse. If Mallory were to return to a life of crime, he wouldn’t be “roaming the streets”, but roaming the internet. What Mallory needs is not 1000 years in prison, but salvation and supervision (and no interest access).

MR.&MRS. WILLIAM APPELT

Why the corruption? Have we as responsible citizens become content to let government do it's own thing?
Pray for a wake up but be patient for a slow repair.