Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Murder, Police and Prosecutors, Soering, True Crime

Söring Takes to Instagram to Slam American Justice

Jens Söring has a brand-new media presence in Germany, assisted by his PR firm. He’s got an Instagram channel, Facebook page, and a Twitter feed. All of them appear to be monitored, either by an intern at the PR firm or by a supporter. Critical comments are quickly deleted; this is a place for true believers, not for informed debate.

So far, Söring has kept mostly to innocuous posts about his life in Germany and some of the things he’s gotten up to. I have no problem with any of that; it’s grand that he’s readjusting to life in freedom. However, he posted something fairly interesting last Saturday: A rant, both in English and German, about the US criminal-justice system.

The occasion was the news that the outgoing Democratic Governor of Virginia Ralph Northam has issued a series of pardons and executive clemency actions during his last days in office, which is standard in the United States. Overall, during his governorship, Northam pardoned about 1,200 people.

Jens Söring was not among them, and he’s hopping mad. Söring begins the video by thanking Northam for his release, but then goes on to complain that he never got a pardon from Northam, despite his (supposed) innocence. Söring then denounces the entire US criminal justice system as “political”. He points to the case of Joe Morrissey, a Virginia State Senator whom Northam pardoned of misdemeanor offenses relating to Morrissey’s affair with a 17-year-old female staffer. Söring claims that the only reason Morrissey got a pardon is because he’s a prominent Democrat with strong ties to the black community.

This immediately raises the question: What did Söring leave out? He always leaves something out. And in this case it’s the fact that Joe Morrissey’s own wife supported Morrissey’s pardon application. You see, Morrissey didn’t just have an affair with his 17-year-old staffer (which is obviously Not Done), he married her, and they have several children together. So although the affair had an improper beginning, Morrissey did the right thing later, and the “victim” of his crime was the prime mover in seeking to clear his record:

The conviction stems from an illicit relationship Morrissey, then 56, had with his then 17-year-old law office intern, Myrna Pride, that began in 2013. After the relationship came to light, Morrissey pleaded guilty to the charge in 2014 and resigned his seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.

By then, Pride was pregnant with their first child. Two years later they married and now have four children. The now Myrna Morrissey submitted an affidavit in December 2021 supporting her husband’s application for a pardon, along with pictures of him with their smiling children.

“Joe and I entered into a relationship which was entirely consensual and at no time did Joe ever manipulate, coerce or in anyway intimidate me into engaging in a relationship,” she wrote.

The petition argued that Myrna Morrissey was exceptionally mature, the relationship was consensual “and the law and the spirit of the law was not violated.”

That would seem to be a pretty important fact, no? Yet it’s inconsistent with Söring’s spin, so he doesn’t mention it. Bizarrely, he compares his own case with Morrissey’s, even though Söring’s crime — a double murder — is roughly infinitely more serious than Morrissey’s.

Now, was it possible politics also played a role in Morrissey’s pardon? Absolutely! Politics always plays a role in every executive clemency or pardon decision, everywhere in the world, and has done for all of human history. Once a defendant has been fairly convicted on sufficient evidence and sentenced, the defendant has no right to any sort of pardon or executive clemency. The decision to grand a pardon is an “unreviewable act of grace“. It’s intended to serve as a safety valve to remedy injustice in cases where the justice system erred, or when changing social attitudes undermine the reason for designating something (such as homosexuality or cannabis possession) a crime.

None of those considerations apply to Söring. There will never come a time when murder is considered acceptable — or at least we must fervently hope this time never comes. Söring killed the Haysoms, and was fairly convicted for doing so. Not only did he never convince a single judge during his many legal appeals, the Virginia Pardon Board conducted, in its own words, a “years-long exhaustive investigation for a genuine search for the truth” which “revealed that Jens Soering’s claims of innocence are without merit”.

Jens Söring did not get a pardon, and never will get one, for the simplest of reasons: he doesn’t deserve one.

8 thoughts on “Söring Takes to Instagram to Slam American Justice”

  1. Not so fast. He didn’t deserve to be paroled, either. But he was. Ironically, considering his complaint about the child molester, as a consequence of his political connections.

    1. That intern is going to have their work cut out. You can’t keep airbrushing forever.
      And it was an executive order which got him out of jail!
      There’s gratitude for you.

  2. Soering was featured in The Times last month. I am not a subscriber so can only paste a small segment. I have hardly seen anything in the British press since his release so this is very interesting to see what slant they are taking.

    Jens Soering in Hamburg last month
    JENS UMBACH FOR THE SUNDAY TIMES MAGAZINE
    Rosie Kinchen
    Sunday December 05 2021, 12.01am, The Sunday Times
    Freedom feels different to different people, but to Jens Soering it is the awkward ridges in a concrete pavement. Prison floors are incredibly smooth, he says, and anyone who has spent as long inside as he has — 33 years — forgets they need to lift their feet off the ground. It is just one of the things he has had to adjust to in the two years since he was released from the Virginia state prison system, where he was serving two life sentences.

    He has felt rain drench his skin for the first time since he was a teenager — prisoners are ushered inside the moment drops begin to fall — and he has swapped soap for body wash, something he hadn’t heard

    1. Thanks very much, my Google Alert didn’t catch that, and it had some interesting information in it.

  3. Sehr geehrter Herr Hammel, vielen Dank für Ihre unermüdliche Aufklärungsarbeit. Ich bin begeisterter Leser ihrer Artikel. Mir kam die Geschichte von Jens Söring mit dem angeblich falschen Geständnis immer schon merkwürdig vor, aber es gab nur die einseitige deutsche Berichterstattung. Von ihrem ersten FAZ-Artikel zu dem Fall war ich regelrecht geflasht, weil das so viele neue, mir unbekannte Informationen enthielt. Allein schon die Tatsache, dass Söring nach Aufforderung der US-amerikanischen Polizei, seine Fingerabdrücke und Blutproben zu hinterlegen, überstürzt nach Europa floh, vorher sein Bankkonto leerte, Fingerabdrücke in seiner Wohnung beseitigte und sein Stipendium aufgab, spricht Bände.

    Es gibt Neuigkeiten bei Wikipedia, der Söring-Artikel ist nun doch etwas ausgewogener 😉

    Mich würden offizielle Dokumente zu sämtlichen Gerichtsbescheiden über Sörings Pardon-Versuche interessieren und wie viele waren das insgesamt?. Auch interessieren mich die offiziellen Einschätzungen der US-amerikanischen Gerichte/Behörden zu den DNA-Untersuchungen aus 2009. So etwas wäre wichtig, um bei Wikipedia die Sachlage noch genauer und ausgewogener dokumentieren zu können. Die Quelle des Wright-Berichtes wird bei Wikipedia ungerechtfertigterweise angezweifelt. Daher wären die offiziellen Dokumente besser.

    Weiterhin Ihnen alles Gute und herzlichen Dank für Ihre tolle Arbeit!

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