Yesterday, Gov. Paterson commuted the sentence of John White, the Long Island man who was convicted of killing a teenager in a racially-charged 2006 incident, saying he wanted to "ameliorate the profound suffering that occurred as a result of this tragic event." But maybe he should have spoken to the parents of victim Daniel Cicciaro Jr. before announcing his decision. "In retrospect, I would have sought the family's input," Paterson said today, after speaking with the Cicciaro family for nearly an hour about the situation.

Cicciaro Jr. and a group of friends—all of them white—gathered outside of John White's home in Miller Place on Long Island because they thought, based on a online message, White's teen son Aaron had threatened to rape a girl at a paper (the threat turned out to be written by another teen pretending to be Aaron White). The group allegedly used racial epithets, and White, who is black, claimed he was reminded of a lynch mob and took his gun to tell the teens to leave. But White's gun went off—he says by accident—and Cicciaro Jr. was dead. White was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 2-4 years, which Ciccaro's family felt was woefully short.

Nevertheless, Paterson says talking to the grieving parents ahead of time wouldn't have changed his mind about commuting White's sentence, though he did add that, "There were some issues raised by Mrs. Cicciaro-Marks that I will be thinking about over the holidays."

White served 168 days of his sentence and said, "It's a blessing" that he was freed. Newsday took this video of his return home: