Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The President: 15 Pardons, 1 Commutation

The Justice Department announced Tuesday that President Bush has issued 15 pardons and commuted one prison sentence. As a result, the President has granted a total of 157 pardons and 6 commutations of sentence to date. Here is a chart of the distribution of those acts of clemency by year of the President's term.

Bush pardoned two fellow Texans, but no one on our Presidential Pardon "Watch List". If, however, you look at overall monthly trends (see chart here), you might agree with my prediction that the fourth year of the term will feature the largest number of pardons and commutations yet (see commentary here). Indeed, compared to the early months of the previous seven years, Bush is off to a roaring start! Or, even more interestingly ... Bush's 7th year December and 8th year March have an eerie resemblance to those of Bill Clinton - not in terms of raw numbers, but in terms of trend and proportion (see chart here). And we all know how that administration ended!

March now becomes the month associated with the second highest number of pardons for this administration (the highest number being December - see chart here). According to reports, the pardons were for non-violent, "white collar" and "minor" offenses, some dating back decades. The commutation was granted to a woman who was convicted of attempted drug distribution in 1992. One of the pardon recipients is apparently proud of the fact that he did not hire a lawyer and submitted paperwork to the Justice Department himself, about four years ago. See story (and a list of the names of clemency recipients) here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really wonder how President Bush and his staff make pardon decisions. I have not been impressed. My husband has a pardon petition at the Office of the Pardon Attorney and at the White House Counsel's office for almost eight years, and it is still pending. Actually, we would rather have a denial than no action at all. This administration tends to just keep most petitions hanging forever without any action.

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