Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Watch List: Tribune Actually Finds Real Clemency Expert!

Hats off to Mary Owen, who has written a story on a possible presidential pardon (or commutation of sentence) for former Illinois Governor George Ryan (R). Owen, writing for the Chicago Tribune, notes Ryan has served almost 7 months of his 6 1/2 -year prison sentence. She also reports that his chief defense attorney, former Illinois Gov. James Thompson (R), has revealed that the clemency request that will be sent to President Bush "will emphasize Ryan's age, years of public service and health" (Ryan suffers from Crohn's disease and diabetes). Thompson says it is his belief that "any president of the United States—whether it's President Bush or President Obama or President Clinton—would look at this petition and say, 'I think justice would be served by letting him go,' "

Owen then instantly turns her piece into the very best of this news cycle by referencing an real, true "expert" on federal executive clemency:
Some experts said a clemency petition might be a tough sell for President George Bush.Bush not only has a reputation for being stingy with his clemency powers but also may be concerned with his legacy as he prepares to leave office, they said. However, President Bill Clinton ended the finals hours of his second term with controversial presidential pardons."President Bush has shown almost no interest in the clemency power," said Daniel Kobil, a law professor at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, and an expert in clemency. "I think he would be a pretty tough audience unless you had some kind of connection to him like [Lewis] 'Scooter' Libby."
In July, Bush commuted the 30-month prison sentence of Libby, a former White House aide who was convicted of perjury and obstruction in the leak of a CIA operative's identity. U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald, whose office investigated Ryan, was the special counsel who led the Libby probe. "A federal commutation is as rare as hen's teeth," Kobil said. "It just doesn't happen very often. That's why the Libby commutation was so striking."
How about that! See Owen's complete article here.

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