Showing posts with label A. Johnson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label A. Johnson. Show all posts

Monday, August 8, 2016

Obama Makes History on Two Fronts

Last Wednesday, President Obama granted 214 commutations of sentence, the most any president has ever granted in a single day. In doing so, he broke Franklin Roosevelt's previous record, of 151.

We searched through our data again and discovered President Obama also set another record: for the largest number of individual acts of clemency (pardons, commutations, remissions of fines and forfeiture, respites, etc.) granted in a single day:

Click on Image (Above) to Enlarge
Prof Mark Osler kindly notes that these data would also exclude (in addition to amnesties, or group pardons) grants by Gerald Ford's Presidential Clemency Board - data which are not compiled in DOJ / OPA clemency warrant records. Interestingly, when recent presidents set these marks, it was hardly noticed and no one had any idea of context, whether or not any record had been set. Having gathered comprehensive original data on clemency, the Editor of this Blog is uniquely qualified to provide that context.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Top Ten Clemency Stories of 2011

10. The West Memphis Three - The Three served almost 18 years before a plea deal allowed for their release. But, Governor Mike Beebe - one of the Nation's most steady dispensers of gubernatorial clemency - announced that he had no intention of granting a pardon. And he will only grant a pardon if there is "compelling evidence" that "someone else was responsible" for the murders the men were accused of.

9. 100,000 Application Backlog in Florida - The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, a group which aims to have the State's Board of Executive Clemency "simplify" (and speed up) the application process estimates a backlog of 100,000 applications!

8. December Clemency - A study published by the author of this blog, in White House Studies, shows that 1 of every 2 pardons and commutations of sentence granted over the last 39 years has been granted in a single month: December.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

ProPublica: History of Pardons

The ProPublica web page has a feature entitled "Timeline: A History of Pardons" (linked here). We have informed ProPublica of the following errors / suggestions:

1. If the page intends to say George Washington's first pardon was granted in 1794, that is incorrect. The first known Washington clemency warrant was signed in 1791. If the intent is to imply the first Whiskey Rebel pardon was granted in 1794, that is also incorrect. The first of that batch was granted in 1797.

2. U.S. v. Wilson should be dated 1833, not 1832.

3. Arthur O'Bryan was pardoned by Abraham Lincoln in 1861, not 1864.

4. Dr. Samuel Mudd, who set the leg of a fleeing John Wilkes Booth, and lied about his relationship with Booth, was pardoned in 1869, not 1868. And his pardon was not based on the grounds of innocence. This is noteworthy because the Mudd family has, for a long, long time now, tried to have his name cleared via a pardon based on an assertion of innocence.

5. It is also worthy of note that Spengler and Arnold (Lincoln assassination conspirators) were pardoned just before Andrew Johnson left office, again, in 1869, not 1868.

6. Andrew Johnson's post-Civil War decisions are best described as amnesties, not pardons.

7. Charles W. Morse was not pardoned. His prison sentence was commuted by President Taft. Furthermore, the commutation of sentence was granted in January of 1912, not 1908.

8. The ruling in Biddle is best summarize as follows: Pardons are not private acts of grace but are, instead, best thought of as the by-product of a constitutional scheme which aims to determine what is in the best interest of the public. Consequently, the thoughts, desires and wishes of the recipient are irrelevant.

9. Richard Nixon granted Jimmy Hoffa a conditional commutation of sentence, not a presidential pardon. The condition was, of course, challenged in federal court, until Hoffa had the poor taste to disappear.

11. Jimmy Carter granted an amnesty to Vietnam War era offenders.

12. George H.W. Bush did not pardon Orlando Bosch.

13. Readers should be aware that the data - which originate from the Department of Justice - are actually arranged by fiscal year, as opposed to calendar year.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Robert Redford on the Most Famous Non-Pardon?

The Editor is intrigued to learn that Robert Redford will be releasing a new movie this week, The Conspirator, which will cover the story of the trial of the conspirators in the Lincoln assassination. Many are surprised to learn that several of those convicted in the conspiracy (Dr. Samuel Mudd, Samuel Arnold, and Edward Spangler) were recipients of executive clemency via the hand of Andrew Johnson. But, in many ways, the most intriguing story is that of the presidential pardon that was not given, a pardon that was intended for Mary Eugenia Jenkins Surratt, the first female executed by the U.S. Government and, actually, the last, until Ethel Rosenberg. So, it will be quite interesting to see how director Redford will handle this critical aspect of the story.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ye Olde Perjury School

Charles A. Dunham (who also went by the names of James Watson Wallace and Sandford Conover) was born and raised in New York City but was living in the South when the Civil War broke out. Dunham was conscripted and served as a clerk in the rebel War Department at Richmond for six months before deserting. He then made his way to Washington where he landed a job as correspondent with the New York Tribune. In the months that followed, he advertised himself as something between a secret service agent and spy without an official employer.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Chart: Most Pardons Granted in a Singled Day




Click on chart to enlarge.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Quote of the Day: Johnson on Pardon Abuse

"I have been accused of abusing the pardoning power. I have pardoned more men than any other executive but I am glad of it, and I only wish I had pardoned many more. Some of those who abuse me so for pardoning, I dare say, need more pardon than any.[I] did well, yet for these things I was denounced as worse than a rebel." Andrew Johnson

Monday, December 1, 2008

Context: Amnesties (or Blanket Pardons)

Washington - July 10 1795, Whiskey Insurrectionists
Adams - May 21 1800, Pennsylvania Insurrectionists (Fries Rebellion)
Jefferson - October 15 1807, Military deserters (if surrendered in 4 months)
Madison - February 7 1812, Military deserters (if surrendered in 4 months)
Madison - October 8 1812, Military deserters (if surrendered in 4 months)
Madison - June 14 1814, Military deserters (if surrendered in 4 months)
Madison - February 6 1815, Pirates participating in War of 1812
Jackson - June 12 1830, Military deserters discharged, those confined released
Buchanan - April 6, 1858, Utah uprising
Lincoln - February 14 1862, Political prisoners paroled
Lincoln - March 10 1863, Military deserters restored with only forfeiture of pay
Lincoln - December 8 1863, “Rebellion” participants (with exceptions) subject to oath
Lincoln - February 26 1864, Military deserters sentences mitigated, restored to duty
Lincoln - March 26 1864, Clarification of December 8, 1863, amnesty
Lincoln - March 11 1865, Military deserters (if returned to post in 60 days)
Johnson - May 29 1865, Certain rebels of Confederate States
Johnson - May 4 1866, Clarification of previous amnesty
Johnson - July 3 1866, Military deserters restored with only forfeiture of pay
Johnson - September 7 1867, Confederates (excepting certain officers) subject to oath
Johnson - July 4 1868, Confederates (except those indicted for treason or felony)
Johnson - December 25 1868, Confederates (universal and unconditional)
Harrison - January 4 1893, Mormons practicing polygamy
Cleveland - September 25 1894, Mormons practicing polygamy
T. Roosevelt - July 4 1902, Philippine insurrectionists, subject to oath
Wilson - June 14 1917 5,000, Persons under suspended sentences
Wilson - August 21 1917, Clarification, reaffirmation of June 14 amnesty
Coolidge - December 15 1923, Espionage Act
Coolidge - March 5 1924, Over 100 military deserters. Restoration of citizenship.
F. Roosevelt - December 23 1933, Over 1,500 who violated Espionage or Draft laws.
Truman - December 24 1945, Thousands of ex-convicts serving at least 1 year in war
Truman - December 23 1947, 1,523 draft evaders (recommended by Amnesty Board)
Truman - December 24 1952, Convicts serving armed forces at least 1 year since 1950
Truman - December 24 1952, Military deserters convicted between 1945 and 1950
Ford - September 16 1974, Vietnam draft evaders. Conditioned on public service
Carter - January 21 1977, Vietnam draft evaders. Unconditional pardon

* For additional updating / commentary on this list, contact the Editor of this blog.

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