Remembering a governor generous with clemency

On this day in 1905: After commuting a 15-year manslaughter conviction to 6 1/2 years, his last official act, Gov. Charles Brantley Aycock proudly points out to the press his desk’s bare top and empty compartments.

It is an appropriate exit for Aycock, who has set records by extending clemency in 458 cases and granting 369 full pardons. On one occasion, to his embarrassment, he even pardoned a man who had died in prison several months earlier.

Aycock would likely be appalled to see how seldom recent North Carolina governors have used their pardon power.