Tuesday, December 18, 2012

SHOCK ! O.I.G. Blasts U.S. Pardon Attorney

The Office of the Inspector General has released a 21-page report entitled, "Review of the Pardon Attorney's Reconsideration of  Clarence Aaron's Petition for Clemency." Aaron, of course, has been on our Pardon Watch List for years now. We have posted a link to the entire document below, but find the following passages particularly relevant:

Page 15 : " ... Rodgers did not represent Rhodes's views accurately to the White House in his e-mail on December 3, 2008. We believe that Rodgers's characterization of Rhodes's position was colored by his concern [that] the White House might grant Aaron 'clemency presently' and his desire that this not happen ... Rodgers's email to the White House, approved by the Counsel downplayed the significance of U.S. Attorney Rhodes's views [as] 'slightly revised ... In fact, the change was dramatic ... In the email, Rodgers also stated that Rhodes believed that Aaron's commutation request was 10 years premature. This was not an accurate characterization of what Rhodes wrote. In doing so, Rodgers told the White House - inaccurately - that Rhodes was opposed to President Bush commuting Aaron's sentence."

Page 16 : "Rhodes thus clearly contemplated that Aaron would serve less than 25 years if his sentence was commuted to that length. Rodgers's email completely omitted this important aspect of Rhodes's recommendation, which was consistent with immediate commutation to a sentence of 25 years ... Rodgers should not have characterized it as he did. He should have acknowledged that ambiguity in his email and relied on his own arguments, instead of indicating inaccurately that Rhodes agreed with him that the petition was ' about 10 years premature' and should be denied ... Furthermore, Rodgers never conveyed [concern] about 'administrative problems' to the White House, nor did he make any record ...

Page 17 : "... of it in Decembers 2008 ... Rodgers's inaccurate description of Rhodes's letter in his email to the White House would have been even worse but for the editing provided by the Counsel ... We also believe that Rodgers's choice of words in the emails to describe Judge Butlers's position ran the risk of misleading the White House about the sentencing judge's position ... We concluded that the primary responsibility for the inaccuracies and ambiguity in the email that was sent to the White House ultimately lies with Rodgers, the author ...

Page 21 : In sum, we concluded that pardon Attorney Rodgers did not accurately represent the views of U.S. Attorney Deborah Rhodes in his e-mail to the White House recommending against a commutation of Aaron's sentence ... Rodgers did not represent Rhodes's position accurately, and his conduct fell substantially short of the high standards to be expected of Department of Justice employees and of the duty that he owed to the President of the United States."

See full O.I.G. report (in .pdf format) here.

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