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The Presidential Pardon thread

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Isgrimnur
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The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by Isgrimnur »

Rather than hijack the below U.S. Taliban thread, I figured I could start up a catch-all thread for the pardons of the outgoing administration.

The list is being maintained on Wiki, although the updates may be running a bit behind. The latest article is here, detailing 19 new pardons and one commutation.
Bush's latest list includes a pardon for the late Charles Winters, who was convicted of violating the Neutrality Act and served 18 months in prison for helping supply arms to Jews attempting to found an independent state in the Middle East in the 1940s. He died in Florida in 1984, officials said.
...
It includes forgiveness for a range of crimes, from drug violations to bank fraud, as well as a commutation of a prison sentence for Reed Raymond Prior of Des Moines, Iowa. Prior was sentenced to life in prison in 1996. He will be let out in February under 10 years of supervised release, the Justice Department said.
  • William Alvis III of Flushing, Ohio (possession of an unregistered firearm and cocaine distribution)
  • John Allen Aregood of Riviera, Tex. (conspiracy to harbor and transport illegal aliens)
  • Eric Charles Blanke of Parker, Colo. (counterfeiting)
  • Steve Doyle Cavender of The Villages, Fla. (conspiring to import, possess, distribute and dispense marijuana)
  • Marie Elena Eppens of Lynden, Wash. (conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute marijuana)
  • Lydia Lee Ferguson of Sun City, Ariz. (conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute marijuana)
  • Eduviges Duvi Gonzalez-Matsumura of Clovis, Calif. (aiding and abetting embezzlement of bank funds)
  • George Clarence Greene Jr. of Gray, Ga. (mail fraud)
  • James Won Hee Kang of South Barrington, Ill. (trafficking in counterfeit goods)
  • Alan Stephen Maiss of Reno, Nev.
  • Richard Harold Miller of Tallahassee (conspiracy to defraud the United States)
  • Delano Abraham Nixon of Neosho Rapids, Kan. (forging the endorsement on a U.S. Treasury check)
  • John H. Overholt of Black Hawk, S.D. (concealment of information affecting Social Security benefits)
  • Morris Keith Parker of Georgetown, S.C.
  • Robert Truman Reece of Redondo Beach, Calif.
  • Donald Edward Roessler of Harrison, Ohio (embezzlement of mail matter)
  • Issac Robert Toussie of Brooklyn, N.Y. (false statements to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and mail fraud)
  • David Lane Woolsey of St. George, Utah (aiding and abetting violation of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act).
Nice to see the war on drugs and illegal immigration are represented.
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by ydejin »

I'm okay with some acts of clemency, but there's no information saying why these particular people were chosen. Was this based on a careful review of their cases and past behavior? Was this because these particular people were politically connected? Was it because they or their friends made large donations to the appropriate entities?
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by Moliere »

This would be a lot easier if we could eliminate mandatory minimum sentencing especially and drug crimes. Sending nonviolent people to jail to become hardened criminals is idiotic.
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by helot2000 »

Moliere wrote:This would be a lot easier if we could eliminate mandatory minimum sentencing especially and drug crimes. Sending nonviolent people to jail to become hardened criminals is idiotic.
+1,0000.
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by Mr. Fed »

Looks as if $28,500 is the going rate. I'll alert my clients.
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by ydejin »

Mr. Fed wrote:Looks as if $28,500 is the going rate. I'll alert my clients.
Seriously? That seems pretty low, I'd expect the list to be much, much longer at $28,500.

Edit: Okay, I see where you got the $28,500 number from. Still seems awfully inexpensive to get out of jail and have one's record expunged.
Last edited by ydejin on Wed Dec 24, 2008 2:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by Scuzz »

Eduviges Duvi Gonzalez-Matsumura of Clovis, Calif. (aiding and abetting embezzlement of bank funds)


This woman is local and according to the newspaper she requested a pardon without the aid of a lawyer. She claims she simply went along with the true mastermind of the scheme.

Bush's pardons don't seem to be politically oriented. They cover a strange combination of crimes and individuals.
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by msduncan »

Btw his list so far is much much shorter than Clinton's pardon list.
It's 109 first team All-Americans.
It's a college football record 61 bowl appearances.
It's 34 bowl victories.
It's 24 Southeastern Conference Championships.
It's 15 National Championships.

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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by Moliere »

msduncan wrote:Btw his list so far is much much shorter than Clinton's pardon list.
Are you saying that as a good thing or bad thing?
By contrast, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford pardoned or commuted more than 400 sentences; Jimmy Carter and John Kennedy more than 500; Richard Nixon nearly 1,000; and Lyndon Johnson nearly 1,200.
Kennedy was in office, what, less than 3 years? Carter for 4 years.
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by LawBeefaroni »

Delano Abraham Nixon of Neosho Rapids, Kan. (forging the endorsement on a U.S. Treasury check)
Yeah, like he wasn't expecting a Presidential pardon from day one.
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by Guy Incognito »

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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by B Dog »

Guy Incognito wrote:Pardon withdrawn
So, now the question becomes: Can he do that?
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by msduncan »

B Dog wrote:
Guy Incognito wrote:Pardon withdrawn
So, now the question becomes: Can he do that?

Looks like he can, from the same article:
Late Update: Or maybe not. A knowledgeable reader says there's an 1869 case (in re Du Puy) that holds that the president can take back the pardon as long as it hasn't been delivered to the grantee. A quick read of this suggests that this decision binding. That's an old legal text citing this case to argue what I've italicized in this quote: "A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which delivery is essential, and delivery is not complete without acceptance, and a pardon by an outgoing President may be revoked by his successor before delivery." Several of the articles I've seen suggest that President Bush's decision here is unprecedented. But the existence of the case suggests it has been, presumably President Grant, then an ardent Republican and Reconstructionist, overruling a pardon of President Johnson's, who by that time had essentially reverted to being a Democrat and supported rapid forgiveness for the rebellious states.
It's 109 first team All-Americans.
It's a college football record 61 bowl appearances.
It's 34 bowl victories.
It's 24 Southeastern Conference Championships.
It's 15 National Championships.

At some places they play football. At Alabama we live it.
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by Lee »

msduncan wrote:Btw his list so far is much much shorter than Clinton's pardon list.
I am guessing Rush did a rant on this since a bunch of Republicans I know are all repeating this.

What is your point exactly? My coworkers said the same thing, of course they hate Clinton and feel this need to constantly point out how Clinton was worse than Bush. I guess it makes them feel better about being a Republican.
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by msduncan »

Lee wrote:
msduncan wrote:Btw his list so far is much much shorter than Clinton's pardon list.
I am guessing Rush did a rant on this since a bunch of Republicans I know are all repeating this.

What is your point exactly? My coworkers said the same thing, of course they hate Clinton and feel this need to constantly point out how Clinton was worse than Bush. I guess it makes them feel better about being a Republican.
The difference between Clinton pardons and others, were that he didn't do most of his over an 8 year period. He did a shitload of them as he was walking out the door, and many of them didn't have very compelling cases.
Of course the thing about pardons is that they require no explaination, and we rarely get one from whatever President issues them. Therefore we have little idea what the decision was based on.

Edit to add: I don't listen to Rush. And I also don't accuse everyone on the left of reading MoveOn.org before posting anything here either. Sometimes people agree because their outlook on the world is simliar. Democrats with democrats and Republicans with republicans.
It's 109 first team All-Americans.
It's a college football record 61 bowl appearances.
It's 34 bowl victories.
It's 24 Southeastern Conference Championships.
It's 15 National Championships.

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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by Lee »

I agree, what Clinton did was crap, but as has been mentioned, there have been others just as bad if not worse.

Edit: The Rush thing was a joke. I was listening to him a year ago and people were calling in just furious that Rush wouldn't give his stance on MaCain. It was like they needed to be told what to think of McCain.
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by B Dog »

msduncan wrote:
B Dog wrote:
Guy Incognito wrote:Pardon withdrawn
So, now the question becomes: Can he do that?

Looks like he can, from the same article:
Late Update: Or maybe not. A knowledgeable reader says there's an 1869 case (in re Du Puy) that holds that the president can take back the pardon as long as it hasn't been delivered to the grantee. A quick read of this suggests that this decision binding. That's an old legal text citing this case to argue what I've italicized in this quote: "A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which delivery is essential, and delivery is not complete without acceptance, and a pardon by an outgoing President may be revoked by his successor before delivery." Several of the articles I've seen suggest that President Bush's decision here is unprecedented. But the existence of the case suggests it has been, presumably President Grant, then an ardent Republican and Reconstructionist, overruling a pardon of President Johnson's, who by that time had essentially reverted to being a Democrat and supported rapid forgiveness for the rebellious states.
And now Josh has posted a late, late update: :D
Late Late Update: A reader passes on some new information suggesting that Du Puy may no longer be the operative precedent in this case and that the Toussie pardon is not revocable. But there are limits on the hours even I'm willing to keep. So this will have to wait for tomorrow -- jmm, 12/24/08, 11:22 PM.
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by Pyperkub »

msduncan wrote:Btw his list so far is much much shorter than Clinton's pardon list.
Key words highlighted. Actually, I have more faith in Bush not to abuse this.

On the other hand, I think Cheney will probably make some argument that this power also belongs to the Vice President, in which case the list would probably be longer than Santa's. :mrgreen:
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by Unagi »

Personally, I feel like this power is a strange one to exist in our government.
Why does the president get this 'king like' ability in the first place?

Am I alone in thinking that this whole "pardon" power is just begging to be miss-used, in fact - it can almost be guaranteed to be miss-useded?

Why is it that one elected man has the ability to just 'un-imprison' someone and clear their record.

Could you imagine if they could also just 'imprison' someone, no questions asked?
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by Lee »

Unagi wrote:Personally, I feel like this power is a strange one to exist in our government.
Why does the president get this 'king like' ability in the first place?
I was curious about this myself and Wikipedia refers you to Federalist Paper #74 written by Alexander Hamilton. Unfortunately I am too dimwitted to really understand it.
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by Pyperkub »

Separation of Powers. This is the ultimate check on the Judicial Branch.
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by Defiant »

Lee wrote:I agree, what Clinton did was crap, but as has been mentioned, there have been others just as bad if not worse.
Why does "more pardons" = worse?

Surely the quality of pardons given (and not given) is more important than the number?

(BTW, Didn't Jimmy Carter pardon all the Vietnam draft dodgers? That's more than 500)
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by Lee »

Nade wrote:Why does "more pardons" = worse?

Surely the quality of pardons given (and not given) is more important than the number?

(BTW, Didn't Jimmy Carter pardon all the Vietnam draft dodgers? That's more than 500)
In my head it should be a seldom used power for rare cases. The less the better, seems kind of like an abuse of the legal system. So yeah to me, less is better.
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by godhugh »

Lee wrote:
Nade wrote:Why does "more pardons" = worse?

Surely the quality of pardons given (and not given) is more important than the number?

(BTW, Didn't Jimmy Carter pardon all the Vietnam draft dodgers? That's more than 500)
In my head it should be a seldom used power for rare cases. The less the better, seems kind of like an abuse of the legal system. So yeah to me, less is better.
Relative to the number of people incarcerated each year, it is very seldom used.
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by msduncan »

And it is very nessessary to have checks to all three branches. The pardon is a very nessessary check.
Now you could argue that the tradition of walking out of your term of office issuing a bunch of pardons is misuse of the check... but then again we don't really know what caused these pardons to be issued.
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It's a college football record 61 bowl appearances.
It's 34 bowl victories.
It's 24 Southeastern Conference Championships.
It's 15 National Championships.

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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by Chesspieceface »

msduncan wrote:And it is very nessessary to have checks to all three branches. The pardon is a very nessessary check.
Now you could argue that the tradition of walking out of your term of office issuing a bunch of pardons is misuse of the check... but then again we don't really know what caused these pardons to be issued.

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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by Isgrimnur »

As I recall, it's pretty much status quo for the president to hold all of his pardons until after the elections. He no longer has to worry about public opinion affecting him or any of his fellow party members.

I'd love to see the pardons used in a controlled manner, but the political fallout from them in modern times can not be used without large scale attention and protests.
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by Moliere »

Moliere wrote:This would be a lot easier if we could eliminate mandatory minimum sentencing especially and drug crimes. Sending nonviolent people to jail to become hardened criminals is idiotic.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Mandatory Minimums

46 is a drop in the bucket.
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by Isgrimnur »

It's that time:
President Obama granted Christmas-time clemency to 95 federal prisoners Friday, shortening their sentences under an initiative to free prisoners sentenced under mandatory minimum prison terms. He also issued pardons to two others, the White House announced.

It was the largest single-day grant of clemency of Obama's presidency. He has now commuted the prison sentences of 184 people, more than any president since Lyndon Johnson (226) and surpassing the combined number of those granted by presidents Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush (117).

Most of the commutations to shorter sentences dealt with drug offenses. The two pardons involved counterfeiting and bank fraud.

Friday's list included 40 people serving life sentences. Most will be released in April.

Obama has pledged to issue more pardons and commutations in 2016, through a clemency initiative intended to correct what Obama sees as an injustice in sentencing laws passed during the "war on crime" of the 1980s and '90s. Many drug offenders were sentenced to long prison terms for trafficking in relatively small amounts of drugs — especially crack cocaine, which triggered harsher sentences than an equivalent amount of powder cocaine. Of Friday's commutations, 24 were for dealing crack cocaine.
...
The pardons went to Jon Dylan Girard, a physician from Centerville, Ohio, who was convicted of counterfeiting in 2002, and Melody Eileen Homa (formerly known as Melody Eileen Childress) of New Kent, Va., convicted of aiding and abetting bank fraud in 1991.
Lists will eventually be here and here, but is currently here.
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by GreenGoo »

Damn it, I started reading the first post assuming it was a new thread for the current administration.

That said, SOFT ON CRIME!!
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by Isgrimnur »

Where's the fun in that? It would make it harder to point out any cognitive dissonance regarding reactions to the pardons based on the letter next to the the primary resident of the 1600 Penn.
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by GreenGoo »

Isgrimnur wrote:Where's the fun in that? It would make it harder to point out any cognitive dissonance regarding reactions to the pardons based on the letter next to the the primary resident of the 1600 Penn.
You're supposed to spring that shit on people after luring them into hardening and doubling down on their position first. That's easier to do when there are two threads.

For the record I don't care how it's organized, Isg. Whatever works for you.
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by Isgrimnur »

:) No worries either way.
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by Defiant »

Are any of the pardons controversial at all?


If not, then Zzzzzz.
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by GreenGoo »

Defiant wrote:Are any of the pardons controversial at all?


If not, then Zzzzzz.
Depends on if you're for or against crack dealers, I guess.
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by Isgrimnur »

GreenGoo wrote:
Defiant wrote:Are any of the pardons controversial at all?


If not, then Zzzzzz.
Depends on if you're for or against crack dealers, I guess.
Something something Joe the Plumber.

I'm sure the media will trawl the list and alert us to anything we should be outraged by.
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by Pyperkub »

Defiant wrote:Are any of the pardons controversial at all?


If not, then Zzzzzz.
FWIW, they aren't "pardons", the sentences were commuted. The offense(s) are still on their record(s), they just don't have to serve any more time, but any other restrictions (e.g: Felony conviction), should still be in place.

Oh, and of course they are controversial - it's Obama.
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by Jaymann »

You know, for as messed up as things in government sometimes get, you still have to be amazed by the brilliancy of the founding fathers. If Congress gets too far out of hand, judicial steps in. If judicial goes too far, the President steps in. If the President gets too far out of hand, Congress steps in. Still working after 240 years.
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by Moliere »

Another 79 granted mercy over federal drug war sentences.
It took almost his entire presidency to get it rolling, but President Barack Obama will have ended his term granting more than 1,000 federal prisoners mercy from incredibly long federal sentences placed on them due to severe drug war laws.
...
Today's count puts the number at 1,023. The list of those granted commutations today can be read through here. As with previous grants, these people aren't going to be released immediately. They'll be getting out next year and some of them will be required to seek drug treatment as a condition of release.

There's a push now to try to get the president to speed up the rate of commutations while there's still time. As Reason has previously noted, President-Elect Donald Trump wants to install Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, a hardcore drug warrior, as attorney general.
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Re: The Presidential Pardon thread

Post by Max Peck »

That's all well and good, but Trump has announced his first pardon before even taking office... :coffee:
Trump reversed his campaign trail vow to put Clinton "in jail" and seek a special prosecutor, saying he wanted to move on to his agenda of creating jobs, repealing President Barack Obama's health care law and cracking down on people entering the country illegally. His comments were a firm suggestion to Republicans who control both houses of Congress to do the same and abandon years of probes into the former secretary of state.

"She went through a lot and suffered greatly in many ways," Trump said, according to the Times. Going after her, he added, is "just not something that I feel very strongly about." He predicted his supporters would not be disappointed because the Trump administration would "save our country" in other ways.
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