Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Saunders: Potential Danger in Last-Minute Clemency Rush

The passer by might get the impression that - with us - it is all about using the pardon power, or not using it. Believe it or not, it is a little more complex than that. San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra Saunders captures some of that complexity well in a column today.

Saunders notes that, in Obama's first term, he was condemned as "one of the stingiest modern presidents when it comes to the presidential pardon power." This blog pleads guilty on that count, because we know the data landscape well. But, now, Obama seems to be "making up for lost time" - or trying to. Saunders notes her readers now challenge her "to praise the president for using his pardon power" and agrees that he "deserves credit for doing the right thing."

But, it is not all just as simple as that. Saunders feel "a little conflicted":
On the one hand, I think it is great that Obama is bestowing mercy, as I have no doubt that thousands of the 193,070 federal inmates are serving sentences that far outweigh their crimes. On the other hand, I fear that the sheer volume and velocity of this effort could doom this exercise to a bad ending. The president changed his clemency criteria to allow for the early release of drug offenders also charged for firearms possession ... as his administration tries to process some 11,000 applications before he exits, the looming deadline expands the opportunity to make mistakes by releasing someone who is violent. 
Last-minute pardoning can also leave “long term” damage. If there is not proper vetting, and clemency recipients "reoffend in headline-making ways" the next president might be far too "shy” with the pardon power. Saunders is thus "thrilled Obama is using his pardon power" but also crossing her fingers that he will use it "well." See Saunders' full editorial here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I understand 100% what your saying about how much damage a last minute Pardon Push could do with un vetted applicants.

let me use myself as example and only hit the high spots for sake of time.

signed statements on me in 1990 that led to a federal arrest and conviction of a 23 year old boy that has never even had a speeding ticket I could remember up until that point. Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute. What I did was I took some money from a group of friends and purchased some drugs from a guy I knew that sold drugs in a dance club I went to on weekends. Made no money just did someone a favor. 2 years later on my job I am arrested by the FBI and was told over the period of the next few weeks I could pled to 18 to 24 months for the amount they felt I was personally responsible for or they would try me on the entire conspiracy that went back to where I was 13 yrs old and they would give me 10years to life in prison.( mandatory minimum).I am so glad I did not fight this because I was ready to. I had no clue signed statements could get a man in trouble like this and LIFE in prison wow ! ? I NEVER had any issues with the law.so I did my 18 months and was released from supervised release ( PROBATION ) 1 year early. So lets recap. I was arrested in 1992 (23 years old ) was done with it all including probation 1996...decided to apply for a pardon in 2011...I have went thru extensive back ground checks, friends, relatives, employers visited by the FBI Not once but twice...my attorney as answered every question ask by the pardon attorney office and no telling what else I am not aware of. I am married with a small child. I have had to settle for a job that would take me because of a felony record ( THANKFUL )...just one incident my entire life and nothing else......keep in mind I was 23 when I was arrested and actually 22 when I made my mistake.....my pardon application is 5- 1/2 years old and I am now just over 50 years old...I cannot work in many states or hold many license because of my felony. I thank Goodness the company I am with understands and knows me and trust me but even then I cannot be promoted or work in other states with my current company nor can I be promoted because of the special license that must be obtained. I cannot even think about leaving my current job for a better job because of my felony conviction.. I HAVE NO CLUE where my application sits at the OPA all I know is we ( MY ATTORNEY) have answered all the Pardon attorney questions (D.leff ) and been thru two FBI background interviews 1st one under Ms. Leff and the 2nd under the current pardon attorney.

I had HIGH hopes for a long time but I am feeling very depressed about this now...
I am not tooting my own horn but if I do not get the pardon the 2nd Chance I dream of who will they give them too.

I cannot speak for any other pardon applicant but I can say without a doubt I have been vetted for some time now by the OPA


signed,

Disgusted and Tired

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