Showing posts with label Trump. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trump. Show all posts

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Trump's First Commutation of Sentence

... on day 334 of the administration, this is the earliest commutation of sentence granted since 1989, when George H.W. Bush commuted a sentence after 206 days. Lyndon Johnson holds the modern record, at 17 days. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all waited over a 1,000 days.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Pardons: Trump Tweets

Friday, July 21, 2017

Post: Trump Interested in Pardon Power

The Washington Post reports that "some" of President Trump’s lawyers "are exploring ways to limit or undercut special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president’s authority to grant pardons." This all comes from "people familiar with the effort." The Post also reports that the President has asked his advisers about his power "to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe, according to one of those people."

On the other hand, the Post reports that "a second person" says Trump "simply expressed a curiosity in understanding the reach of his pardoning authority, as well as the limits of Mueller’s investigation."

Trump's lawyers are said to be working "to corral the probe and question the propriety of the special counsel’s work" and are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest" which could "serve as a way to stymie his work."

The Post boldly predicts that, if the President of the United States pardons himself, "in the face of the ongoing Mueller investigation, it would set off a legal and political firestorm."


Prof. Brian C. Kalt believes (as does the Editor of this blog) that "the weight of the law argues against a president pardoning himself," but allows for the notion that the question is "open." We are reminded of Jerome Frank's definition of "the law" - "a good lawyer's guess of how a particular judge might rule in a particular set of circumstances." But we also believe there is little or nothing in constitutional law which does not assume that, in the instance of clemency, there is the person granting clemency and there is a recipient. These are assumed to be separate, distinct actors. This assumption has been more than a mater of semantics, or theory. It has been a functional assumption. Prisoners have rejected conditional commutations of sentence, for example - ask President Obama. The Supreme Court has also often seen delivery and acceptance of an offer of clemency (by the intended recipient or his/her representative) as vital to understanding its validity - ask Isaac Toussie, pardon, then un-pardoned by George W. Bush. Etc. See Post story here.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Obama's OPA. Still the House of "No"

We now learn that President Obama left behind 11,371 applications for pardons and commutations of sentence. Currently, President Trump has not appointed a U.S. Pardon Attorney, so Obama's OPA is essentially still in place. The result? 600 new petitions for commutation of sentence and 752 commutation applications tanked ("closed") by OPA. Did Obama reinvigorate clemency?

Friday, January 27, 2017

Pardon Power on Trump's Radar ... Already

It took Barack Obama more than 600 days to grant the first pardon of his administration. But Donald Trump is already talking about a potential pardon for Kristian Saucier.

Saucier is serving a one-year sentence for taking photos on his cell phone inside a nuclear submarine, as a member of the Navy. Trump talked about his case during his campaign, suggesting the sentence was harsh. In recent interview he told Sean Hannity, "I’m actually looking at it right now ... I think it’s very unfair in light of what’s happened with other people.”

FOX News reports Jeffrey Addicott, a former Army attorney and director of the Center for Terrorism Law at St Mary's Law School in Texas, says Saucier’s prosecution was "politically motivated." He also notes, “Two other sailors who did the same thing just had to pay about $300 fines and didn’t go to jail.” Saucier’s case, on the other hand, landed around the time when Hillary Clinton’s classified emails were being debated. Said candidate Trump:
“They took the kid who wanted some pictures of the submarine ... That’s an old submarine; they’ve got plenty of pictures. If the enemy wants them, they’ve got plenty of them.”
See full story here.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Trump's First Pardon Opportunity?

On average, presidents have waited 104 days to grant the first pardon of their term. If you remove just seven presidents from the analysis (Obama, W. Bush, Clinton, H. W. Bush, Nixon, Adams, Washington), the average falls to all the way to 20 days. In other words, most presidents have hit the ground running. President Trump should seriously consider doing the same.

According to CBS News / AP, "approximately 230 protesters" were arrested on Inauguration Day and they will be "charged with felony rioting" - an offense punishable "by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000."

President Trump should consider pardoning the non-violent offenders among them. He should even consider pardoning them preemptively (before conviction, or before execution of sentence) just as Woodrow Wilson pardoned female suffragists who picketed the White House back in the day. Of course, some of those arrested do not fit the "non-violent" category neatly.
... Windows of downtown businesses were smashed, and police deployed pepper spray and “sting balls” against the crowd.The protesters were armed with crowbars and threw objects at people and businesses, destroying storefronts and damaging vehicles. Six police officers were hurt -- three of them hit in the head with flying objects ... 
Trump should pardon the offenses and remit any associated fines. He need not worry about any embarrassment re rejecting or refusing such pardons because no one has a "right" to spend time in prison on the dime of tax payers. If anyone insists on giving money to the government, they can make a charitable donation. See full story here.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Our Bold Predictions re Donald Trump, the Pardon Power

There is much chatter re what will happen to the pardon power once President Obama leaves office. We feel it is time that we go ahead and jump ahead of the bunch and launch our own bold predictions for the pardon power in the Trump administration.

Remember: you heard it all here first:

1. President Trump will take so little interest in clemency, he will not even lift a finger to appoint his own U.S. Pardon Attorney. He will just keep Obama's - if he can - the same way Obama kept George W. Bush's Pardon Attorney ... until he (the Pardon Attorney) had to be let go.

2. If Trump musters up enough interest in clemency to send a policy memo to the Office of the Pardon Attorney - stating goals and guiding principles - it will come late in the term and will be a near carbon copy of memos sent by previous administrations - as did President Obama.

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