Monday, November 17, 2008

The President: ABC News on Pardons

Note: In the interest of full disclosure, PardonPower talked with the author of the piece discussed below for about a half hour.

Scott Michels at ABC News has filed a report on presidential pardons ("Record Numbers Seeking Bush Pardons"). After mention of several people on our Pardon Watch List and a cursory listing of "controversial" pardons, Michels writes:
"I think it's an absolute disgrace the way Democratic and Republican administrations, the Bush Administration apparently being the worst, have departed from giving many commutations and pardons except in political cases," said Phillip Heymann, a former Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton White House who now teaches at Harvard Law School. "I think it would be wonderful if we tore up everything to do with pardons and started over and made it a classy operation, with people carefully going over applications."
The article also references Margaret Colgate Love, a former U.S. Pardon Attorney, who says the Office of the Pardon Attorney is moving through cases without reviewing them in the same detail that it used to. According to Love, many of her clients are no longer being referred by the office for an FBI background investigation, one of the initial steps for potentially promising pardon applications. Says Love:
"The Department of Justice has basically closed down the pardon program for all intents and purposes for meaningful release of ordinary people. I don't think any substantive thought is given to the issues raised by the people who are applying."
Professor Daniel Kobil (Capital University School of Law in Ohio) says we are seeing a "Willie Horton-ization of the clemency power." See ABC News story here.

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