Showing posts with label Vermont. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vermont. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Obama: Iranian Story Continues

Josh Gerstein of Politico reports that two Iranian men "have been indicted for allegedly hacking a Vermont defense technology firm, but one of their cohorts who admitted guilt won't be punished because of a pardon President Barack Obama granted last year as part of the Iran-U.S. nuclear deal."

The DOJ has indicted Mohammed Reza Rezakhah, 39, and Mohammed Saeed Ajily, 35, for "conspiring to hack South Burlington, Vermont-based Arrow Tech" as "part of an effort to allow Iranian companies to use the company's software in violation of U.S. export controls."

A "third actor" plead guilty for related conduct ... and was awaiting sentencing when he received the pardon from Obama - one of a series of clemency grants and dropped prosecutions the administration agreed to as part of a broader effort to reach a nuclear agreement and obtain the release of several Americans being held prisoner in Iran." See full story here.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Vermont: 192 Last-Minute Pardons

The New York Times reports that "nearly 200 of the approximately 450 people who asked Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont to forgive their misdemeanor marijuana convictions had their wish fulfilled this week." It was "one of his final acts in office" - 192 pardons.

In a statement, the Governor noted that "attitudes and laws about marijuana use are rapidly changing, there is still a harmful stigma associated with it.” So, he wanted to "help as many individuals" as he could "overcome that stigma and the very real struggles that too often go along with it.”

Why the effort only began just before he left office is a mystery to all.

The Times says the pardon were "limited to people who had no violent criminal histories or felony convictions, and who had not been found guilty of driving under the influence or reckless driving."

The Governor also said his state should “follow the many states that are legalizing and regulating the use of marijuana and put to an end the incredible failure that is the War on Drugs.” Remarkably,  Shumlin's 208 total pardons (since 2010) are "more than any other governor in the history of the state." See story here.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Vermont: Classic Wrong Way to do the Right Thing

The Washington Times reports that, in his "final days" outgoing Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin is "expected to issue what could be hundreds of pardons to Vermonters convicted of what are now considered minor marijuana violations."

The pardon process was not invented last month, in Vermont, but that is when Shumlin suddenly "invited" people who were convicted of "possessing small amounts of marijuana" before the state decriminalized it (three years ago) to apply for clemency. It is said that those with "violent pasts" will not be considered ... for what that is worth. The Times reports "almost 500 people" sent in applications.

We are left to guess that the applications all came in just recently, or Shumlin has left the applicants in limbo - despite his notions of justice and mercy - for as much as three years. Regardless, the Times reports that, just before his administration ends, his staff "has been doing background checks." What could go wrong. See story here.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Vermont: John Zaccaro, Jr. Pardoned

John Zaccaro, Jr., the son of former Democratic vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro has been pardoned by Peter Shumlin, outgoing Democratic governor of Vermont. Zaccaro was convicted in 1988 of selling cocaine to an undercover officer while a student at Middlebury College.

A four-month jail sentence followed, but - according to the Daily Mail - Zaccaro was actually put "in an house arrest program  in which inmates paid for their living arrangements, and served 90 days 'in a luxury $1,500-a-month Burlington apartment."

Zaccaro's defense attorney argued his client was a victim of entrapment and his mother "accused prosecutors of unfairly targeting her son because of her high profile after becoming the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 1984." As she put it, he was "set up."

According to the Washington Post, police found a larger quantity of cocaine in Zaccaro's car, and more drugs and paraphernalia in a search of his apartment. See story here.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Vermont: Three Pardons

The Times Argus reports Gov. Peter Shumlin has granted pardons to three women who have "atoned for their mistakes." One plead guilty to violation of a restraining order in 2001, when she was only 18 years old. Another plead guilty to a domestic assault on her own mother in 2002 (the mother supported the clemency application). The third plead guilty to "a number of nonviolent felonies and misdemeanors" related to substance abuse and addiction in the late 1990s.

The Governor said he was "proud" to pardon all three ...
"... who have all worked very hard to overcome obstacles in their lives and mistakes made in their pasts ... All three have shown a commitment to helping others and to making a better life for themselves and their family ... Past mistakes do not define a person’s future, and I hope these three will serve as an inspiration for others looking to turn their lives around.” 
See story here.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Vermont: 2 Pardons

The Burlington Free Press reports that, after three years, Gov. Peter Shumlin has issued his first two pardons.  Shumlin said he was impressed by "commitment both women have shown to making sure mistakes each made in their youth have not defined their lives.” More humorously, the governor’s legal counsel, "said the pardons were granted in the normal course of business and were unrelated to the holiday season."

The first woman fined $150 twenty-seven years ago, for "selling a quarter gram of cocaine to an undercover police officer."  The second woman was sentenced to two to five years in prison twelve years ago for "selling less than 200 milligrams of heroin."

More interestingly, the piece describes recent use of pardons in the State. It notes past governors have granted pardons for "two primary reasons" - "a compelling need or to correct an injustice." That being said, most governor have used the power "sparingly" except for Thomas Salmon (who granted more than 200 in four years in office).
Shumlin’s predecessor, Jim Douglas, is known to have issued at least 13 pardons from 2003-10, but the exact number was unavailable Tuesday ... Before Douglas, Gov. Howard Dean granted 80 pardons, including 17 during his final year in office, 2002. 
See article here.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Vermont: 31 Years of Hesitancy

Sam Hemingway of the Burlington Free Press has written a fine article on clemency in the State of Vermont. Hemingway notes the current governor, Jim Douglas, is about to leave office "having granted fewer pardons per year than any of his eight immediate predecessors." The count for recent governors appears to be:

Douglas: 13 pardon in 7 1/2 years
Kunin: 12 pardons in 6 years
Dean: 80 pardons in 11 1/2 years
Snelling: 32 pardons in 8 years
Salmon: 198 pardons in 4 years

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