Showing posts with label Clinton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Clinton. Show all posts

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Ricky Ray, Karla Faye and Keith Cooper

According to the Washington Post, Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Mike Pence "has issued only three pardons in Indiana since he took office in 2012." The Post notes that, in contrast, his predecessor, Mitch Daniels, "issued more than 60 during his eight years" as governor of Indiana. The Post probably should have also noted Daniels granted only 1 request in his first four years.

In addition, there is the case of Keith Cooper, which the Post describes as "complicated." Cooper and another suspect were arrested for attempted murder and armed robbery in 1997. Cooper claimed he had never even met his co-defendant, but matched a description, was convicted and given a 40-year prison sentence. The Post says "evidence of Cooper’s innocence surfaced years later."

DNA from a hat left at the crime scene "belonged to someone else." It was later traced to another man who had committed a murder in Michigan some years later. Victims and eyewitnesses have also "since recanted their original statements about Cooper" and have accused a police detective of "manipulating" them into "identifying" him. Consequently, Cooper left prison in 2006, after serving less than 10 years. Amazingly:
... Cooper’s co-defendant, Parish, had been exonerated. In 2005, the Indiana Court of Appeals overturned his conviction. Parish also had won a civil rights lawsuit against Elkhart County officials, along with a nearly $5 million settlement ...
However, the Post reports, a judge gave Cooper "two options." He could "pursue a new trial" and possibly remain in prison a few more years, awaiting the outcome, or he could "accept a deal" allowing him to exit prison with his felony conviction "intact." Cooper chose a "deal" in 2006, but is now seeking a new trial ... and a pardon ... from Mike Pence.

Hard not to recall candidate Bill Clinton trying to out "law and order" his Republican opponent by allowing the execution of the "mentally insufficient" African-American Ricky Ray Rector, in 1992. Hard not to think of George W. Bush's seeming callousness toward the reformed Karla Faye Tucker, who was executed in 1998.

Pence’s general counsel says Cooper must exhaust all of his appeal options in court before petitioning for a pardon. The judicial process must first take its course. Blah. Blah. Everyone with even casual familiarity with the pardon power (state or federal) knows such matters constitute no real limitation on a governor's use of the pardon power, or a president's ... unless they chose to make such things a limitation. This a matter of discretion, not law. The truly critical thing here is how Pence uses the power given to him and the discretion he has to employ that power.

Posing as if he is constricted by law is ... quite unimpressive ... a giant red flag.

See full story here.

Monday, September 12, 2016

From Indifference to Last-Minute Rush

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Obama's Fourth Year Commutation Blitz. How Historic?

While it is true that most presidential terms have featured the highest number of individual clemency grants in the fourth and final year, Bill Clinton's last-minute fiasco was an extremely rare bird. For most presidents, commutations of sentence have been but a tool in an arsenal of clemency options (including pardons, conditional pardons, group pardons - or amnesties - respites and reprieves, remissions of fines and forfeiture, etc.). But, for President Obama, they are damn near everything. Indeed, 91 percent of his clemency grants have been commutations of sentence.

Department of Justice data on the topic are nearly worthless because they are arranged by fiscal year and, in some instance, are not disaggregated when two presidents served in the same fiscal year unit. So, we have disaggregated the data on commutations of sentence and have arranged them by a more meaningful unit of analysis: year of term (below):

Click on Image (Above) to Enlarge
Previous to 1885, the distinction between pardons and commutations of sentence was more vague, but it is safe to say that Woodrow Wilson was setting records as his administration progressed. At first glance, one might guess Obama has set the all-time record for commutations of sentence, but that would be false. Both Woodrow Wilson and Calvin Coolidge granted more. They just didn't wait until the very end of their terms to dump a big load of them. Mercy was a regular (monthly) feature of their administrations, not so much an afterthought, or last-minute stunt.

It is safe to say that the President has set a record for the most commutations of sentence granted in a single year - the fourth year of his second term which, of course, is not yet over. As we recently revealed from our own, original data, he has also set a new record for most commutations of sentence granted in a single day

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Obama's Abysmal Record on Pardons

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White House PR Chart Fail

When the White House does clemency PR ... ten ... nine ... whatever.

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"We're none of us perfect." - Homer Simpson. If we are making comparisons, very oddly, to recent presidents (none particularly known to be generous with the pardon power), we believe that it might also be worth noting that President Obama has received many more applications for commutations than his predecessors (see chart below). Comparable data are not available before Nixon.

Click on Image (Above) to Enlarge

Obama's Commutation Rate

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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Obama and Other Multiple Term Presidents

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Obama Approaches Marks by Reagan and Clinton

After almost two full years of complete inactivity, and a first term notable for being the least merciful since that of John Adams ... in the fourth and final year of his second term ... President Obama appears to be game for a respectable showing among two-term presidents.


Sunday, April 3, 2016

Obama is No Nixon (or Eisenhower)

White House counsel W. Neil Eggleston - and others in the White House - are want to compare President Obama's record on clemency favorably (after almost two full years of zero pardons and commutations of sentence) to the least merciful presidents. Even then, the focus of such "analyses" is but one dimension of clemency (commutations, not pardons). We imagine there are other, less awkward and more enlightening reference points: such as presidents who have, like Obama, have served more than one term:

Click on Image (Above) to Enlarge
Fortunately, Mr. Eggleston, who recently presided over an organizational framework which completely excluded the U.S. Pardon Attorney from communication with the Office of White House Counsel - even when the Deputy Attorney General deep-sixed recommendations for clemency - has told Politico that, in the last months of the administration, the “infrastructure is now very much in place” to file and process clemency petitions and we are all "going to start seeing a lot more very quickly" and "on a more regular basis."

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Farewell October!

Fare thee well October! For four years now, Barack Obama has not granted a single pardon or commutation of sentence in the month of October.

But, that's OK. Over eight years, George W. Bush also granted zero in the month of October. Bill Clinton actually granted seven pardons - across his eight years in office - during the month of October. All seven were granted in October of 2000. In his four years as president, George H.W. Bush granted zero pardons and commutations in the month of October.

What does it all mean? It means, across 24 years, and four different presidents, both Republican and Democrat, there has been a grand total of 7 acts of federal executive clemency in the month of October. Since all of them were granted by one president, in a single October, it means 23 of the last 24 Octobers have featured zero pardons and commutations.

Coming soon: November and December!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Marc Rich, Dead

The Washington Post reports Marc Rich has died. For previous PardonPower posts on the wealthy fugitive pardoned by Bill Clinton, click here. See Post story here.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

T. Roosevelt v. Modern Presidents

                 Commutations of Sentence
     Theodore Roosevelt v. Eight Recent Administrations

Roosevelt
No.
% of All Grants
Recent
Administrations
No.
% of All Grants
FY 1902
92
27
Nixon
60
6
FY 1903
70
43
Ford
22
5
FY 1904
87
38
Carter
29
5
FY 1905
116
31
Reagan
13
3
FY 1906
66
42
H.W. Bush
3
3
FY 1907
71
26
Clinton
61
13
FY 1908
53
26
W. Bush
11
5
FY 1909
90
34
Obama
1
4
Totals
645


200


* Across 8 fiscal years, Roosevelt granted three times more commutations of sentence than all of the presidents over the last 45 years combined. See additional summary statistics on commutations of sentence here.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Obama: More Dubious Pardon History-Making

President Obama's first term has now ended and, along the way, his administration tied Bill Clinton's first term for the fewest months featuring grants of either pardons or commutations of sentence. Obama granted a mere 22 pardons and 1 commutation of sentence, the lowest number for a full term for any president since George Washington! And he (Obama) did it all in just three months. The remaining 46 months of the term were a complete wash.

It will now be interesting to see just how far clemency dysfunction continues. In the first term. Obama also strung together 23 consecutive months without granting a single act of clemency. The length of the drought tied George W. Bush's first term for the longest of any modern president. Obama is currently riding a 14-month string of inaction.

President
Months Featuring   Clemency (of 49)
Months Without Clemency (of 49) Most  Consecutive Months Without Clemency
F. Roosevelt (1)    45     4        4
F. Roosevelt (2)    37     12        11
F. Roosevelt (3)    44      5        1
FDR / Truman (s)    46     3        1
Truman (1)    49     -        -
Eisenhower (1)    25     24        7
Eisenhower (2)    14     35        7
Kennedy / Johnson (s)    40     9        3
Johnson (1)    23     26        7
Nixon (1)    5     44        13
Nixon (2) / Ford (s)    17     32        9 
Carter    31     18        5
Reagan (1)    17     32        8
Reagan (2)    31     17        5
Bush    5     44       18
Clinton (1)    3     46         22
Clinton (2)    11     38       11
Bush (1)    7     42       23
Bush (2)    13     36       7
Obama    3     46       23

Sunday, January 20, 2013

SHOCK: Obama's Pardon Disaster. The Merciless Term

Barack Obama's first term has come to an end and we are now ready to report that his four-years as president represent the least merciful term for any modern president (Democrat or Republican) and, quite possibly, the least merciful in the entire history of the United States (see footnote below).

This is, of course, an incredible distinction for a president who repeatedly notes that America is a place where people get "second chances," from a president who complained bitterly about overly-harsh sentences given to criminal defendants simply because they were African-American, and from a president who promised us "hope and change."

Will the second term be like (or worse than) the first? Frankly, there are very few signs that anything will change in any significant way - save the conventional wisdom that presidents tend to wax irresponsible in the fourth and final year of the term and are subject to a world of pressure from interested parties (resulting in last-minute pardon splurges). In sum, we appear to be on the track to an equally merciless second term and/or a Clintonesque pardon disaster.

THE LEAST MERCIFUL 4-YEAR TERMS IN AMERICAN HISTORY

President
Term
Individual Acts of Clemency
(Pardons, Commutations of Sentence, Respites)
1
George Washington *
First
0
2
Barack Obama
First
23
3
George Washington
Second
28
4
George W. Bush
First
31
5
John Adams
Only
37
6
Thomas Jefferson
First
48
7
Bill Clinton
First
56
8
George H.W. Bush
Only
77
9
Thomas Jefferson
Second
80
10
James Madison
Second
112


* These data are based on Professor Ruckman's original data set, collected from copies of State Department clemency warrants found on Microfilm Set T969, National Archives, the Annual Report of the U.S. Attorney General and a CD set of clemency warrants issued by the Office of the Pardon Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice. Recently, George Lardner has uncovered additional acts of clemency in the first term of George Washington, suggesting State Department records may be incomplete, at least for that administration. There is no additional evidence of overlooked actions in any other administration.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

What will a Merciless December Mean for Obama?

If President Obama fails to grant a single pardon or commutation of sentence this month (December), he will come ever closer to matching Bill Clinton's record of 46 months in a term without an act of clemency. Obama has already tied George W. Bush's record for the most consecutive months (23) without a pardon or commutation of sentence.
President
Months Featuring   Clemency (of 49)
Months Without Clemency (of 49) Most  Consecutive Months Without Clemency
F. Roosevelt (1)    45     4        4
F. Roosevelt (2)    37     12        11
F. Roosevelt (3)    44      5        1
FDR / Truman (s)    46     3        1
Truman (1)    49     -        -
Eisenhower (1)    25     24        7
Eisenhower (2)    14     35        7
Kennedy / Johnson (s)    40     9        3
Johnson (1)    23     26        7
Nixon (1)    5     44        13
Nixon (2) / Ford (s)    17     32        9 
Carter    31     18        5
Reagan (1)    17     32        8
Reagan (2)    31     17        5
Bush    5     44       18
Clinton (1)    3     46         22
Clinton (2)    11     38       11
Bush (1)    7     42       23
Bush (2)    13     36       7
Obama    3     45*       23

* January remaining in the term.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

October: Not a Chance!

It is October!

Want a pardon or commutation of sentence? Too bad.

For three years, Barack Obama has not granted a single pardon or commutation of sentence in the month of October. Over eight years, George W. Bush granted zero in the month of October. But, actually, it gets better. Bill Clinton granted a total of seven pardons across his eight years in office during the month of October - all seven of them being granted in October of 2000. In his four years as president, George H.W. Bush granted zero pardons and commutations in the month of October.

What does it all mean? It means, across 23 years, four different presidents, both Republican and Democrat have issued a grand total of 7 pardons in the month of October. Since all of them were granted by one president, in a single October, it means 22 of the last 23 Octobers have featured zero pardons and commutations. The odds appear better that the Great Pumpkin himself might appear. Maybe this year Linus!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Clemency Grant Rates: Recent Presidents

Clemency Grant Rates by
Pardon Applications, Commutation Applications and All Applications
"1 in every x applications granted"

President
Granted Pardon Applications
Granted Commutation Applications
All Applications
Nixon
1 in every 2
1 in every 15
1 in every 3
Ford
1 in every 3
1 in every 25
1 in every 4
Carter
1 in every 3
1 in every 36
1 in every 5
Reagan
1 in every 5
1 in every 100
1 in every 8
H.W. Bush
1 in every 10
1 in every 245
1 in every 19
Clinton
1 in every 5
1 in every 90
1 in every 16
W. Bush
1 in every 13
1 in every 779
1 in every 55
Obama
1 in every 50
1 in every 5,557
1 in every 290

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