Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The President: More on the Toussie Pardon

In a previous post (here), we noted the pardon of Isaac Robert Toussie seemed somewhat problematic. Apart from the obvious (some people are very angry about it and Toussie's father was a prolific donor to the Republican Party), there is the fact that a spokesperson for the Office of the Office of the Pardon Attorney announced that Toussie's pardon application did not even arrive until August 7th, 2008. So, somehow, the application went to the Office of the Pardon Attorney, was vetted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and received recommendations from the U.S. Pardon Attorney and the Deputy Attorney General in just over 4 months! PardonPower has not heard of that kind of speed since the seven-week miracle of Peter Yarrow (back in the Carter administration).

According to yesterday's press release by the Department of Justice, Toussie was sentenced on Sept. 22, 2003, to five months in prison and three years of supervised release. Assuming this sentence expired somewhere between September (2006) and February (2007), it would seem that he could not even apply for a pardon until September of 2011 or February of 2012. Why? Because under the Department's rules governing petitions for executive clemency, 28 C.F.R. §§ 1.1 et seq., a minimum waiting period of five years after completion of sentence is required before anyone convicted of a federal offense becomes eligible to apply for a presidential pardon.

While it is certainly recognized that DOJ rules and guidelines are not, in any way, a limitation on the complete discretionary power of the President, the timing of this pardon suggests that it was indeed hatched "outside the normal process." Just how far, remains to be seen. PardonPower suggests that, somewhere, there is a Wild Card for this one! Developing ...

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