Sunday, May 13, 2012

Watch List: Aaron's Torpedoed Application

For some years now, we have shared San Francisco Chronicle Debra Saunders' interest in the Clarence Aaron case and we have listed Mr. Aaron on our Pardon Watch List for some time as well.

Now comes a report in the Washington Post which reveals the White House "sent Aaron’s application back to the pardon office for reconsideration in early 2008 as part of a larger push to find clemency candidates."

The report notes, however, that "key elements" shifted in Aaron’s favor. A new U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, for example, supported his petition for clemency, arguing for immediate action. In addition, the U.S. District Court Judge who sentenced Aaron changed his earlier silence on the matter to also support Aaron's application. Indeed, the judge told a lawyer in the Office of the Pardon Attorney that Mr. Aaron “should be granted relief.”

But, at some point along the way, U.S. Pardon Attorney Ronald Rodgers took over the file.

The report says Rodgers "offered no new recommendation" to the White House. Nor did he "revise the old one." In addition, "years of favorable prisoner reports" were pushed aside and Rodgers simply "resubmitted the 2004 denial recommendation, unchanged, to the White House."

Finally, the report claims associate White House counsel, Kenneth Lee, was not informed that the sentencing judge supported the application. Instead, Lee was simply told the judge was not opposing it. Lee was also told that the new prosecutor thought "Aaron’s commutation request is about 10 years premature.” See Post story here.

1 comment:

IsraelP said...

But he'll release Sirhan Sirhan in January.

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