Thursday, November 25, 2010

Error !

Pardon Power acknowledges - and has made corrections in all relevant posts and charts taking into account - an apparent error in the calculation of the number of days that it took George W. Bush to grant the first pardons of his administration. Our previous calculation, 702 days, was based on a date of December 23, 2002.

A helpful reader has informed us, however, that Bush actually signed the master warrant for this batch of pardons on December 20, 2002 (a Friday), thus making the proper number of days 699. The pardons were simply announced the following Monday and also very often reported in the National media as having been granted that morning (see, for example, CNN , The New York Daily News, USA Today).

We are mortified by the commission of this mistake but, of course, much more concerned about providing what we know to be accurate information than in simply being quoted and "looking good."

On a side note: Although we rarely get any credit for it (via a passing mention or even a footnote), to the best of our knowledge, this is the only source available to anyone anywhere regarding data on the topic of "first pardons." That is to say, when someone - anyone - comments on the "first pardons" of administrations, and the assumption of their commentary is that they know something about the topic relative to the administrations of Wilson, Taft, Coolidge, Jefferson, Madison, Buchanan, Jackson, Tyler and Grant ... this blog is, in all likelihood, the source of that knowledge. This is also true with respect to plenty of other topics, such as:

* clemency behavior in the fourth year of each term
* the month in which pardons tend to be granted
* historical data on clemency in each administration
* trends in the states where clemency recipients reside
* the record number of individual pardons granted in a single day
* notable acts of clemency throughout the entire scope of American history which are long forgotten, etc.

Want to get this kind of information elsewhere? Good luck with that! Call the Department of Justice, or the Office of the Pardon Attorney and see what you come up with. Try the Bureau of Justice Statistics even. You will be amazed at the hurdles you will discover.

In large part, the information provided on this blog is unique because the Editor is the only person who has ever gone through Microfilm Set T967 (National Archives), the Annual Reports of the Attorney General and a CD set released by the Office of the Pardon Attorney in order to create a researchable data set. We are, of course, highly interested in having these efforts reflect a high degree of care and accuracy and, for that reason, the data have, for years, been checked and re-checked, on a regular basis. 

In sum, we sincerely apologize for this mistake, heartily thank the reader who called it to our attention and look forward to continuing efforts to shed light on this important topic. 


Anonymous said...

I value all attention given to the circumstances explained. If only people would have fact checked Glen Beck stating, "I went to the National Archives, and I held the first inaugural address written in his own hand by George Washington" sooner while he was standing at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial, maybe a little more progress would continue to be made.

Anonymous said...

I know I just commented, but I have the utmost respect for everything the producers of this page are doing. I will be looking forward to the day President Obama grants his first pardon power and shows compassion to any life (wrongfully accused beyond a reasonable doubt) besides a turkey.

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