Showing posts with label G.H.W. Bush. Show all posts
Showing posts with label G.H.W. Bush. Show all posts

Friday, January 13, 2017

Historic Denial of Clemency Applications

With 804 denials of commutation applications announced today, President Obama has denied more clemency applications than the last five presidents - over 32 years - combined.


It seem likely that, in the next seven days, this number will increase, by thousands.

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.

Click on Image (Above) to Enlarge
"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.

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Obama's Commutation Rate

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Thursday, August 4, 2016

Former Pardon Attorney on Obama's Clemency Record

Margaret Colgate Love was U.S. Pardon Attorney during one of the least merciful spans of time in American history - from 1990 to 1997, during the administrations of George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

She is now in private practice, representing clients applying for pardons and commutations of sentence. According to U.S. News and World Report, with respect to pardons, she is concerned that they are a "really important part of the clemency caseload," but have "been so neglected” by President Obama. Says Love,
“It’s bad enough that the president is the only way to go for people who have served their sentence and are seeking relief from collateral consequences and restoration of their rights ... But when the president says ‘the door is closed, I’m not home for you,’ that’s very troublesome. I’m not sure he appreciates that in effect is what he’s said.” 
President Obama spoke at length on the topic in a press conference today.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Obama: Second Only to Wilson and Coolidge in Commutations

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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Lacking In Mercy

There are certainly many ways to gauge the amount of mercy displayed in an administration. Instead of simply looking at the total number of pardons, commutations of sentence, remissions of fines and forfeitures and respites, we gathered original data and calculated the average number of individual grants of clemency - per year of the term - for each and every president. That is to say, we considered consistency in the use of clemency throughout administrations, as well as the overall figures. This is what we found:

Click on Image (above) to Enlarge

It is clear that, to date, the Obama administration represents a low point, a very low point, in the exercise of this great, necessary, Constitutional power.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Calling for Mercy: At the President's Door.

The Houston Chronicle has a great piece from the Associated Press re one Scott Walker, sent to prison at age 25 (almost 18 years ago) to serve out a life sentence.  The "kingpin" and supplier of drugs in Walker's case, "a two-time drug felon," knew how to play the system. He "cooperated" and testified against Walker and served about five years.

In July, Walker's lawyers submitted an application for federal executive clemency to President Obama. In the letter, they noted Walker "meets all six criteria for possible release" identified by the Department of Justice in recent announcements regarding commutations of sentence. In days to come, the President may see thousands of such applications.

For ignorant persons likely to be swayed by the mere claim that clemency would overturn the considered judgement of judges and juries, and that the president should not interfere with the decision making of the judicial branch: Walker's trial judge - Judge J. Phil Gilbert, an appointee of President George H. W. Bush - is also urging the president to commute the sentence to 20 years. Gilbert called the sentence that he was forced to impose on Walker (because of sentencing guidelines since rejected by both parties, in both the House and the Senate, back in 2010) "excessive and disproportionate."

The article also contains a brief, but excellent history of federal legislation regarding sentencing in drug cases. See full article here.

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!

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.


Friday, November 2, 2012

President Sitting on a Dozen Positive Recommendations

According to ProPublica:
Currently, two government officials said, there are about a dozen positive recommendations and hundreds of negative ones waiting for the president to act on.
No specific sources are named for this information, but it certainly suggests there is no coming pardon bonanza. Only more of the same dysfunction and neglect.

ProPublica also features calculations based on Department of Justice data. We made the same calculations, from the same data, way back in a July post:

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 61
1 in every 6,762
1 in every 352

* Data updated 2/4/13

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