Sunday, October 26, 2008

The President: More on the Bush Pardons

Over at the Sentencing Law and Policy blog Prof. Berman summarizes a review of President Bush's pardons and commutations by Margaret Colgate Love. Love finds that "almost 2/3" of Bush's 157 pardons involved people "whose convictions had occurred more than 20 years before they were pardoned." Regardless, "every single recipient had fully served their sentences years before they were pardoned" and only 18 of them were in prison for more than 2 years. Love also finds theft and fraud to be the "most frequently pardoned offenses."

More interestingly, Love notes most (133) of the pardons were granted to individuals who were not represented by a lawyer in the application process. Similarly, 4 out of 5 commutations (Love excludes Scooter Libby's commutation from the analysis) were not represented by counsel in their applications.

Every one of Bush's pardons was granted "pursuant to favorable recommendations from the Justices Department" with the exception of a "deathbed pardon" that was granted to David McCall, the former Mayor of Plano, Texas. Love says McCall's application was "reportedly processed through the Justice Department in a matter of days."

Says Love (a former U.S. Pardon Attorney):
"Word on the street is that there will be more pardons after the election - and possibly even some before it. I would not be surprised to see a difference in the profile of those receiving pardons in the the final weeks."
See Prof. Berman's post here. To see the word on PardonPower's street regarding expectations for the end of the term (written back in month of July) go here.

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