By David Madden
TRENTON, N.J, (CBS) — New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been criticized a lot in recent months for spending little time at his job as he pursues the Republican Presidential nomination. Christie returned to Trenton to publicly pardon a Philadelphia man who had done time in South Jersey four decades ago as a result of drug addiction.
Christie’s pardon of now long time drug counselor John Berry, 61, on a shoplifting and robbery conviction in Atlantic County was meant, in large part, to drive home the point that drug addiction is a disease needing treatment and lives can be turned around. “Giving his story a broader stage, as uncomfortable as it might be for him a little bit personally, would be helpful to touch even more lives than he’s touched already,” Christie told reporters in Trenton as he signed the pardon.
Berry expressed his gratitude, and not just to the Governor. “See where God is working through the Governor and the state of New Jersey and his staff to bless me with this pardon,” he said. “It’s something that I don’t take a lot of credit for. I just feel like the only thing I did was wake up every morning and make a conscious decision not to put a chemical in my body.”
Christie’s taken a number of steps to stress treatment over incarceration for first time drug offenders during his term.