FINDING PRETEXTS FOR TYRANNY: WHEN PLEAS FOR CLEMENCY FALL UPON DEAF EARS

A Wolf encounters a Lamb that has wandered from the herd. Ordinarily, one would
expect the Wolf to prey upon the Lamb, attack, and consume it. However, the Wolf indicates
that this will not be the case provided that the Lamb has not wronged the Wolf in any way. The
Wolf then proceeds to lay a few accusations before the Lamb, of which the Lamb proves its
innocence. The Wolf eventually attacks and consumes the Lamb despite knowledge of his
innocence. The Wolf’s nature is not to reason and debate with those he considers beneath his
station and even a source of sustenance, which brings the moral of the tale: “[a] tyrant will
always find a pretext for his tyranny and it is useless for the innocent to try by reasoning to get
justice, when the oppressor intends to be unjust.”2
For those familiar with the ancient Greek fabulist’s, Aesop’s, compilation of stories with
advice-giving morals, Aesop’s Fables, the tale of “The Wolf and the Lamb,” may be
recognizable. The moral serves as a segue to introduce this paper’s primary topic and argument
in relation to how clemency is administered in Texas. The notion of clemency invokes
sentiments of forgiveness, pardon, and mercy. Although that may have been the intention at its
conception, the clemency process has long past failed at this and has manifested and morphed
into a seemingly unattainable task. The law and those who uphold it are not unlike the Wolf of
who would not administer fair justice and mercy where it was obvious and plainly deserved.