Thursday, February 25, 2016

Cruz, Dallas Morning News: Both a Little Off

Hannah Wise of the Dallas Morning News reports that Sen. Ted Cruz has "vowed" that, if he is elected president, "he would pardon the anti-abortion activist who has been charged for his role in undercover videos filmed at a Houston Planned Parenthood clinic if the activist is convicted." Quoting Cruz:
“As a Texan, as a Houstonian, I was deeply dismayed and disappointed to see the Harris County district attorney bringing criminal charges against someone who went undercover to expose what appears to be vast criminal conduct by Planned Parenthood. I think he did an incredible public service ... I’ve pledged on the very first day in office to open an investigation into Planned Parenthood and to prosecute any and all criminal conduct by that organization.” 
Wise, however, notes that, in order for Cruz to pardon Daleiden, "a number of things would need to happen" 1) Cruz would need to be elected president 2) Daleiden would need to be convicted in federal court 3) Daleiden would need to submit a petition to the Office of the Pardon Attorney to formally request a presidential pardon and 4) Daleiden would need to wait five years before applying for a presidential pardon.

1) and 2) are on point, to be sure.

3) and 4) are, however, patently false. The president can pardon any federal (and D.C.) offender, at any time, before during, or after conviction, for any reason, or no reason at all. No application is necessary. DOJ "guidelines" for clemency applications are just that "guidelines." They, in no way, restrict the president's power to pardon. See Wise's "trailblazing" reporting on Cruz here.

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