Showing posts with label Reagan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reagan. Show all posts

Monday, June 11, 2012

DeLorean Codefendant Seeks Pardon

Stephen Lee Arrington was born in 1948 in Southern California into a broken family. After graduating from high school, he joined the U.S. Navy and served four tours in Vietnam. He rose to the rank of Chief Petty Officer in the Specialty Warfare Command as a bomb disposal diver, where he worked with the CIA, the Secret Service and NASA. Arrington also earned the Naval Commendation Medal for lifesaving. But, while he was stationed in Hawaii in the late 1970’s, he took up surfing and got caught up in the marijuana culture that accompanied a new group of friends. By 1979, Arrington was caught selling marijuana to another sailor and his military career came to an abrupt end, albeit with an Honorable Discharge.

Two years later, Arrington was lured away from his studies at San Diego State University by one Morgan Hetrick, who offered a job as a pilot and right-hand man. But Hetrick was actually a cocaine transporter for the Medellin Drug Cartel. Soon, Arrington found himself being ordered to co-pilot a plane to Colombia. When he first refused, four men with guns convinced him to go along for the ride. Later, Arrington was ordered to drive a cocaine-loaded car from Florida to California. Desperate to escape from his circumstance, Arrington abandoned the car at Van Nuys Airport and tried to walk away. But heavily armed undercover DEA agents took him back to the car and Arrington was arrested. He was thereafter known as a co-defendant of John DeLorean in a cocaine conspiracy trial. DeLorean was acquitted on all charges. But Arrington plead guilty and was sentenced to five years in federal prison.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Barbour: Justice Really Important, If You Have Time for It!

Just minutes ago, former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour appeared on Fox News (Special Report with Bret Baier) to explain / justify his last-minute pardon bonanza. After insultingly suggesting he had been "misunderstood," Barbour said most people in the State of Mississippi were Christians and Christians believe in forgiveness. He added that America is a place where people get second chances. He also linked the pardon power to Mississippi's earliest Constitution, then the United States Constitution, and dared to compare his record on clemency to that of the conservative Republican gold standard - Ronald Reagan (who was President for eight years, but certainly did not grant 95 percent of his pardons on his last day in office - see chart below). Yes, it was a semi-impressive, inspiring, all-American, praise-allelujah, apple-pie, John Wayne, you-damn-tooting sales pitch for the power of executive clemency until  ...

Barbour said he couldn't really "look at" pardons for eight long years because he was busy with "Katrina and other things" (President Reagan, Barbour's "hero," evidently, was not nearly so busy). Good thing Barbour added "the other things" in there. Otherwise, eventually, someone would have asked, "Mr. Barbour, how many people did you pardon between January of 2004 (when you took office) and August of 2005 (Katrina)?" The answer is: ZERO. Almost 600 days of nothing! Zip. Notta.

Incidentally, the loafer Reagan granted more than 80 pardons in his first 600 days as President. But that is because it only took Reagan 65 days to start granting pardons. On the other hand, the tireless workhorse and endlessly distracted Mr. Barbour needed 1,649 days (four and a half years)!

Oh, the humanity!

Yes, and the one, single day, that Barbour was finally able to come up for air just happened to be his last day in office. Oddly enough, the God of most Mississippians (and of Christianity) appears not to be so busy, and is always ready to forgive (Psalms 86:5).

Busy Barbour v. Loafer / Ready to Forgive Reagan
Number of Pardons and Commutations Granted by Year of Term

Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Year 4
Reagan 1st Term
Reagan 2nd Term
Barbour 1st Term
Barbour 2nd Term

Stee-rike two on Haley Barbour's PR rehabilitation tour.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Obama: The No Commutation of Sentence President

Only George W. Bush waited longer than President Obama to grant the first act of clemency in his term. To date, Obama has granted a paltry 17 presidential pardons (largely restoring the civil rights of persons who committed minor offenses decades ago) and zero commutations of sentence.

President              Days before First Commutation of Sentence
-----------              ---------------------------------------------------------
Obama                1,004 ... and counting
Clinton                  672
Reagan                  317
Eisenhower           282
Nixon                    282
H.W. Bush             206
Carter                    82
Ford (s)                  61
Truman (s)             54
Johnson (s)            30
Kennedy                 19

Friday, April 22, 2011

Injustice: What Biden Did, Obama Can (Should) Undo

Maya, an "intern" in the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, has an interesting slant on why thousands upon thousands of African-American men who were first time, non-violent offenders are spending such an inordinate amount of time in our federal prisons.

The standard answer, of course: Ronald Reagan.

But, as it turns out, there is plenty of credit to share in this matter.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Granting the First Commutation of Sentence

Over the last 12 presidencies, there has been an average of 329 days between inauguration and the granting of the first commutation of sentence. This number is, of course, heavily skewed by the data for the administration of George W. Bush - the slowest president in American history to grant any form of clemency. Excluding that administration, the number falls all of the way to 249. Regardless, the delay in the Obama administration - despite record numbers of applications for commutation of sentence - is more than twice the average for these recent administrations.

Assumed Office
Date of First Commutation of Sentence
Number of Days Till
First Commutation
H.W. Bush
W. Bush
- - -
735 and counting …

* These data represent the result of a preliminary run - at the request of media - through an original data set on presidential pardons from 1789 to 2011. The author will edit / amend / correct the data after additional research, should the need arise.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Decline in Christmas Clemency?

In December of 1999, an article in Christian Science Monitor suggested that, in recent years, there has been a decline in "Christmas Clemency." The article was generally based on the fact that President Clinton had gone a couple of Decembers without granting any pardons or commutations of sentence. Otherwise, no data were presented on the topic.

Using our own original data, we have calculated the total number of December pardons and commutations of sentence, by year and administration, from 1945 (Truman) to 2010 (Obama). Click on the image to the left.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Other Basketball Great from North Carolina

Charles "Tex" Harrison was a star basketball player at North Carolina Central and became the first player from a predominately black school to be named "All-American." He went on to become a long-time star of the world renowned Harlem Globetrotters. But Harrison found more serious competition than the Washington Generals when Customs Service officials at Houston’s International Airport arrested him in the 1960's.

Harrison was charged with "unlawful possession of narcotics without paid transfer tax" because he was caught carrying less than an ounce of marihuana and hashish. A conviction followed on November 24, 1965, and Harrison was fined two thousand dollars. The sentence was, however, modified on January 21, 1966. Harrison was given five year’s probation and the fine was reduced to only five hundred dollars.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Very Colorful Joe Don Looney

Joe Don Looney was a high school football star and moved on to become a two hundred and thirty pound running back with "breakaway" speed at the University of Oklahoma. He actually sat on the sidelines as a “third string” player during most of his first game at the University of Oklahoma. But he brazenly told Sooner coach Bud Wilkinson to put him in at the end of the game - that is, if Wilkinson was truly interested in winning. Uncharacteristically, the Coach gave in to the challenge and sent the bench warmer onto the field. Looney stuck his head in the huddle and told quarterback Monte Deer to just give him the ball and watch him score. Most of the Oklahoma offense looked at the back of Looney’s jersey in amazement as he sprinted sixty yards for the game-winning touchdown. It was a colorful, storybook beginning that would, unfortunately, wear thin quick.

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