Friday, November 4, 2016

Obama's Thanksgiving Opportunity

As we approach Thanksgiving and the classically annoying turkey pardoning exercise, we remind the President that he has a very excellent opportunity to do something smart, right, appropriate and perfectly befitting his legacy of concern re second chances, rehabilitation and the harsh effects of mandatory minimum sentencing laws. He could grant a posthumous pardon to the great American short story writer O. Henry.

There are other requests for posthumous pardons floating around (Jack Johnson, Marcus Garvey, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, etc.), and every case is different. But O. Henry's case is substantively, categorically different from all of the others. The other requests feature numerous elements of controversy. The White House will find itself having to defend those pardons.

Not so in the case of O. Henry. The President quoted O. Henry one Thanksgiving. The U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp commemorating what would have been O. Henry's 150th birthday. And with good reason. O. Henry lived such an exemplary (and accomplished) life after his conviction that most people (including his own daughter) had no idea he had ever spent time in prison. When the word got out -  after his death - many assumes he was innocent all along. Thus, the Editor of this blog has, once again, filed a formal application for posthumous pardon with the Office of the Pardon Attorney.

You can read the cover letter to the O. Henry application here.
You can read the O. Henry pardon application here.
O. Henry's offense is described here.
And, most importantly, the several reasons why President Obama should grant a posthumous pardon to O. Henry are enumerated here.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Ruckman,

I enjoy your blog very much, and agree with your argument for a posthumous pardon for O. Henry. However, after reading through your reasons for pardon I noticed one small inaccuracy.

Under reason number III you state: "Porter stepped into the federal penitentiary at Columbus, Ohio, on April 25, 1898." This statement is inaccurate in that the facility located in downtown Columbus, Ohio, was never a "federal" penitentiary. It was always a state-run institution that happened to house some federal offenders.

P.S. Ruckman, Jr. said...


Thank you! I will look into that and make the proper adjustments!


P.S. Ruckman, Jr. said...


I see three book authors Langford, Smith and O'Connor all refer to it as "the Ohio Penitentiary."


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