We expected at least a little action from Mr. Obama just about now, since 1 out of every 2 pardons granted over the last 39 years has been granted in the month of December. The offenses addressed in the 9 most recent pardons are distributed across decades as follows:
1960s (2) 1970s (1) 1980s (3) 1990s (3)
As a result, the average distance between each sentence and the subsequent presidential pardon is a whopping 28.3 years! Even the smallest distance is over 11 years.
Russel Dixon ... his liquor law violation was more than 50 years ago (that is to say, before President Obama was even born)! Dixon says he just wanted to clear his name before he died!
James Banks, now 66-years-old, was only 27 when he got caught stealing less than $100 worth of plywood and nails from a construction site. Yes, you read that right! The horror!
Ronald Foster, now 65-years old, committed his crime when he was an 18-year-old Marine serving in Vietnam. But Foster clearly had no business being eager for mercy, given the utterly shocking, heinous nature of his crime (whittling the edges of coins so as to trick vending machines). Unspeakable! Thus, the determination on his clemency application, filed in 2008, absolutely required a good 32 months of deliberation.
Floretta Leavy (a retiree from the Army) waited 46 months. 58-year old Tim Gallagher filed his application sometime in 2006! Roxanne Hettinger first applied way back in 1993!
Yep, one thing is for certain: this group of kids (including 85-year-old Laurens Dorsey and Edgar Kranz, an Air Force retiree) will think twice before ever violating the law again! As Samuel T. Morison (a former staff attorney in the Office of the Pardon Attorney, Department of Justice) has pointed out, increasingly pardons are granted to people who need (or can actually benefit from) them the very least.
Here is some additional information on today's 9 pardon recipients:
James Bernard Banks (1972) UT, illegal possession of government property (2 years probation)
Russell James Dixon (1960) GA, liquor violations (2 years probation)
Laurens Dorsey (1998) NY, false statements (5 years probation, restitution)
Ronald Lee Foster (1963) NC, coin mutilation (1 year probation. fine)
Timothy James Gallagher (1982) AZ, cocaine (3 years probation)
Roxanne Kay Hettinger (1986) IA, cocaine (30 days, 3 years probation)
Edgar Leopold Kranz, Jr. (1994) military (24 months)
Floretta Leavy (1984) IL, cocaine/marijuana (1 year and 1 day)
Scoey Lathaniel Morris (1999) TX, counterfeiting (3 years probation, fine)
To date, he has received 3,389 new petitions for federal executive clemency. At the beginning of fiscal year 2010, there were 4,716 petitions pending. He has denied 1,288 petitions and an additional 842 have been "closed without presidential action."
As we ponder Hope and Change, let us remember that there are still yet a few more potentially sleepy, late Friday afternoons remaining in the Holiday Season.