Showing posts with label W.H. Harrison. Show all posts
Showing posts with label W.H. Harrison. Show all posts

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.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Reason on Obama's Pardon Stinginess

Over at Town Hall, Jacob Sullum, Senior Editor of Reason Magazine has a piece on "Barack the Unmerciful." Sullum notes that the "reputedly progressive and enlightened man" has a "strong shot" at wining the title of "least merciful president."

With just 22 pardons and 1 commutation of sentence, is in the company of:
... George Washington, who probably did not have many clemency petitions to address during the first few years of the nation's existence; William Henry Harrison, who died of pneumonia a month after taking office; and James Garfield, who was shot four months into his presidency and died that September. 
If one changes the focus to complete 4-year terms, however:
With the exception of Washington's first term, then, Obama so far has been stingier with pardons and commutations than any other president, especially when you take into account the growth of the federal penal system during the last century, the elimination of parole, the proliferation of mandatory minimums, and the concomitant increase in petitions. This is a remarkable development for a man who proclaims that "life is all about second chances" and who has repeatedly described our criminal justice system as excessively harsh. 
Sullum also notes:
Obama has granted clemency petitions at a lower rate than all of his recent predecessors. The odds of winning a pardon from Obama so far are 1 in 59, compared to 1 in 2 under Richard Nixon, 1 in 3 under Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, 1 in 5 under Ronald Reagan, 1 in 10 under George H.W. Bush, 1 in 5 under Bill Clinton, and 1 in 13 under George W. Bush, per Ruckman's calculations. The odds for commutation are even longer: 1 in 6,631 under Obama, compared to probabilities under the seven preceding presidents ranging from 1 in 15 (Nixon) to 1 in 779 (Bush II). 
The piece ends by noting that it is an "amazing accomplishment" that Obama has "made Richard Nixon look like a softie." See full editorial here.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Obama Drops His First Pardons!

682 days into his presidency, Barack Obama, the slowest Democratic president in history to exercise the pardon power, has finally discovered the dark corners of Article II of the Constitution and, you know, the whole "checks and balances" thing. Yes, today, the President has granted 9 pardons. Why, even William Henry Harrison, who only served 32 days before having the poor taste to die, found a way to grant 3 pardons!

We expected at least a little action from Mr. Obama just about nowsince 1 out of every 2 pardons granted over the last 39 years has been granted in the month of December. The offenses addressed in the 9 most recent pardons are distributed across decades as follows:

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