Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Watch list. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Watch list. Sort by date Show all posts

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Watch List: About the Watch List

Over the last couple of weeks, I have talked to reporters from the Washington Post and the Chicago Tribune who have expressed interest in PardonPower's Pardon Watch List. The legitimate questions were: What determines whether or not an individual gets on the list? and do I expect everyone on the list to be pardoned?

I have generally utilized the following criterion for adding individuals to the List: If an individual has been involved in a high-profile case or enjoys celebrity status, then I have put them on the list. I have especially done so if someone (a columnist, politician, or significant legal actor) has publicly called for clemency on their behalf, or has gone so far as to predict clemency. On the other hand, if public figures have called on the President to pardon relatively unknown persons in notable ways (speeches, editorials or publications), then I have also added names to the List. Likewise, if I have become aware of any organized effort to obtain clemency on someone else's behalf (petition drive, online petition, etc.)

Do I expect everyone on the List to be pardoned? I certainly do not. And that is all the more reason to keep it, and to attend to it regularly. We all know the boiler-plate criticisms of the criminal justice system: those that have the gold rule ... if you don't have the capital, then you get the punishment ... etc. While such rhetoric is not without grounding, it would be intellectually irresponsible to fail to recognize that prominent, well-connected, rich, celebrated persons do not always get what they want (apologies to Mr. Jagger and Co.). Justice Department officials are fond of addressing pardon "controversies" by noting that the typical pardon is granted to an unknown, an average person - if you will, in a non-controversial way. Although I am not aware of anyone having ever disputed that point, the Pardon Watch List, in effect, makes it more persuasively, and in advance of the oncoming storm.

And there's no need to worry or doubt. It will come.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Watch List: Very Slight Modification

Over the weekend, the New York Times made a moderate splash with a list of 13 names of individuals who have and have not applied for pardons or commutations of sentence with President Bush (see story here). PardonPower finds it worthy of note that 10 of the 13 names have been on our Pardon Watch List (below) for many months. But, given what we now know, we are inclined to add the name of Randy Cunningham to our list. The Times also discussed Jack Abranoff and Bob Ney (who have not filed applications), but we are not so inclined to add them.

Presidential Pardon Watch List - P.S. Ruckman, Jr.

- Clarence Aaron (drug dealing)
- Willie Mays Aikens (sold drugs to an undercover agent) X - released (6/5/08)
- Conrad Black (fraud and obstruction of justice)
- Duane Chapman (deprivation of liberty) X - won extradition battle (11/6/07)
- Roger Clemens
- Jose Compean (illegal arrest of an alien)
- Randy Cunningham Application in.
- Edwin Edwards (convicted of racketeering) Application in.
- John Forte (cocaine)
- Gilmer Hernandez (civil rights violation)
- Lawrence Hutchins (soldier, murder X - sentence commuted to 11 years (5/9/08)
- Ron Isley (tax evasion)
- Jack Johnson (violated the Mann Act)
- Marion Jones (steroids) Application in.
- Scooter Libby (perjury, obstruction of justice)
- John Walker Lindh
(terrorism) Application in.
- David H. McNab (smuggling and money laundering)
-
Michael Milken
(securities and reporting violations) Application in.
- Julius Nasso (conspiracy, extortion)
- O.Henry (embezzling bank funds)
- Lance Persson
(drug dealing)
- Leonard Pielter
(double murder of FBI agents)
- The Pig (tasting so good) X - White House spokesman says "no" (11/18/07)
- Jonathan Pollard (spying on behalf of Israel X - President says "no change" (5/13/08)
- Ignacio Ramos
(illegal arrest of an alien)
- George Ryan (corruption)
- Richard Scrushy (corruption)
- Don Siegelman
(corruption)
- Jeffrey Skilling (fraud, conspiracy, insider trading)
- Martha Stewart (obstruction of justice)
- Michael Vick (conspiracy to operate interstate dogfighting ring)
- Robert Steve Vukelic (knowledge of a felony, failing to reporting it to authorities)
- Mark E. Whitacre (wire fraud, tax fraud, and money laundering)
- Jason Charles Yeager (methamphetamine charges)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Presidential Pardon "Watch List"

I wanted to bring over (from the Libby Pardon blog the following pardon "watch list." Below, you will find a list of individuals involved in high profiles cases, many of which have organized efforts to obtain a presidential pardon. I have also provided updates to the original list (in red). The links provide some background into each case and I will continue to follow each on this blog. So, here it is:

Presidential Pardon Watch List - P.S. Ruckman, Jr.

- Clarence Aaron (drug dealing)
- Willie Mays Aikens (sold drugs to an undercover agent)
- Conrad Black (fraud and obstruction of justice)
- Duane Chapman (deprivation of liberty) X - won extradition battle (11/6/07)
- Jose Compean (illegal arrest of an alien)
- Edwin Edwards (convicted of racketeering)
- John Forte (cocaine)
- Gilmer Hernandez (civil rights violation)
- Lawrence Hutchins (soldier, murder)
- Ron Isley (tax evasion)
- Jack Johnson (violated the Mann Act)
- Marion Jones (steroids)
- Scooter Libby (perjury, obstruction of justice)
- John Walker Lindh
(terrorism)
- David H. McNab (smuggling and money laundering)
-
Michael Milken
(securities and reporting violations)
- Julius Nasso (conspiracy, extortion)
- O.Henry (embezzling bank funds)
- Lance Persson
(drug dealing)
- Leonard Pielter
(double murder of FBI agents)
- The Pig (tasting so good) X - White House spokesman says "no" (11/18/07)
- Jonathan Pollard (delivering classified information to foreign government)
- Ignacio Ramos
(illegal arrest of an alien)
- George Ryan (corruption)
- Richard Scrushy (corruption)
- Don Siegelman
(corruption)
- Jeffrey Skilling (fraud, conspiracy, insider trading)
- Martha Stewart (obstruction of justice)
- Michael Vick (conspiracy to operate interstate dogfighting ring)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Watch List: Crunch Time Ahead

When Obama steps into the White House, the Watch List may feature some folks at ACORN, Tony Rezko, and Larry Walsh. But, for now, the list is as follows:

Presidential Pardon Watch List - P.S. Ruckman, Jr.

- Clarence Aaron (drug dealing)
- Willie Mays Aikens (sold drugs to an undercover agent) X - released (6/5/08)
- Claude Allen (theft)
- Conrad Black (fraud and obstruction of justice)
- Duane Chapman (deprivation of liberty) X - won extradition battle (11/6/07)
- Roger Clemens
- Jose Compean (illegal arrest of an alien)
- Randy Cunningham Application in.
- Edwin Edwards (convicted of racketeering) Application in.
- John Forte (cocaine)
- Gilmer Hernandez (civil rights violation)
- Lawrence Hutchins (soldier, murder X - sentence commuted to 11 years (5/9/08)
- Ron Isley (tax evasion)
- Jack Johnson (violated the Mann Act)
- Marion Jones (steroids) Application in.
- Scooter Libby (perjury, obstruction of justice)
- John Walker Lindh
(terrorism) Application in.
- David H. McNab (smuggling and money laundering)
-
Michael Milken
(securities and reporting violations) Application in.
- Julius Nasso (conspiracy, extortion)
- Tom Noe (illegal campaign contributions)
- O.Henry (embezzling bank funds)
- Chibueze Okorie (driver for a heroine ring) Application in.
- Lance Persson
(drug dealing)
- Leonard Pielter
(double murder of FBI agents)
- The Pig (tasting so good) X - White House spokesman says "no" (11/18/07)
- Jonathan Pollard (spying on behalf of Israel X - President says "no change" (5/13/08)
- Ignacio Ramos
(illegal arrest of an alien)
- George Ryan (corruption)
- David Safavian (lying to investigators)
- Richard Scrushy (corruption)
- Don Siegelman
(corruption)
- Jeffrey Skilling (fraud, conspiracy, insider trading)
- Martha Stewart (obstruction of justice)
- Ted Stevens (violation of ethics laws)
- Michael Vick (conspiracy to operate interstate dogfighting ring)
- Robert Steve Vukelic (knowledge of a felony, failing to reporting it to authorities)
- Mark E. Whitacre (wire fraud, tax fraud, and money laundering)
- Jason Charles Yeager (methamphetamine charges)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Watch List: Jackson Jr. Sentenced, Pardon to Follow?

Jesse Jackson, Jr.
Jesse Jackson, Jr., who, along with his wife, pilfered more than a quarter of a million dollars of campaign donations has been sentenced to 30 months in federal prison - with the possibility of a four month reduction.

As he got into a car to drive away from reporters, Jackson, who used checks and credit cards more than 3,000 times for "personal items (such as multiple flat screen televisions, sports club memberships, nightclubs and lounges, a gold-plated Rolex watch, fur capes and parkas), said:
"I still believe in forgiveness and redemption ... and I still believe in the resurrection." 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Obama: Watch List '15

President Obama has granted so few pardons and commutations of sentence, we haven't much thought of anticipating individual pardons. But that doesn't mean the subject is not on the minds of others. And, with a recent round of commutations and the end of the term approaching, it is probably only a matter of time before the media engages in prognostication with reckless abandon. Interested readers may see our explanation of our own approach to this exercise here.

Watch List: Here are some individuals who have 1) expressed interest in clemency 2) been mentioned in media outlets as deserving clemency or 3) are being supported for clemency through assorted "campaigns":

Stephen Lee Arrington (cocaine trafficking) released
- ACORN (voter fraud)
- Weldon Angelos (marijuana)
- Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl(desertion)
- Jim Black (corruption) released
Barry Bonds (obstruction of justice) 
- Hillary Clinton (not charged)
- Randall "Duke" Cunningham (bribery, tax law violations) released
- Edwin Edwards (racketeering) released
- Jerry Eversole (lying to FBI)
- Bobby Ferguson (racketeering, extortion, bribery)
- Katie Hall (mail fraud) deceased
- Dan Hanks (quite the rap sheet!)
- Ron Isley (tax evasion) released
- William Jefferson (bribery, corruption)
- Jesse Jackson, Jr. (illegal use of campaign funds) released
- Sandi Jackson (plea)
- Jack Johnson (violation of Mann Act) deceased
- Marion Jones (steroids) released
- Kwame Kilpatrick - (racketeering, extortion and bribery)
- John Walker Lindh (terrorism)
- Bradley Manning (espionage)
Chris McNair (bribery) released
- Michael Milken (junk bond king)
- Leonard Peltier (double murder)
- O. Henry (embezzlement) deceased
- General David Petraeus (unauthorized sharing of classified information)
- Jonathan Pollard (spying)  
- Tony Rezko (corruption) a "spokesman" has said it will not happen
- George Ryan (corruption) released 
- Michael G. Santos (cocaine distribution) released
- Richard Scrushy (bribery) released
- Don Siegelman (trading favors for contributions)
- Wesley Snipes (income tax evasion) released
- Edward Snowden
- Martha Stewart (conspiracy) released
- Michael Vick (conspiracy to operate interstate dog fighting ring) released
- Mark E. Whitacre (wire fraud, tax fraud, and money laundering) released

- Chris Williams (drugs)
- Jeri Wright (money laundering)

See anyone missing? Let us know. Make your case! We might very well add them! Incidentally, we are not keeping score here. But, in the past, the following people appearing on our "Watch List" have received pardons or commutations: Ignacio Ramos, Jose CompeanCharlie Winters, John Forte, Lawrence Hutchins.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Obama to Pardon Sandi Jackson?

Michael Sneed of the Chicago Sun Times has this to offer:
The hottest rumor to come down the political pike: Speculation President Barack Obama may pardon former Ald. Sandi Jackson before he leaves office in January 2017.
So, just like that, another candidate for our patented Pardon Watch List !

Watch List: Here are some individuals who have 1) expressed interest in clemency 2) been mentioned in media outlets as deserving clemency or 3) are being supported for clemency through assorted "campaigns":

- Clarence Aaron (drug conviction)
Stephen Lee Arrington (cocaine trafficking)
- ACORN (voter fraud)
- Weldon Angelos (marijuana) 
- Jim Black (corruption) 
Barry Bonds (obstruction of justice) 
- Randall "Duke" Cunningham (bribery, tax law violations)
- Edwin Edwards (racketerring), released
- Katie Hall (mail fraud)
- Dan Hanks (quite the rap sheet!)
- Ron Isley (tax evasion)
- William Jefferson (bribery, corruption)
- Jesse Jackson, Jr. (plea)
- Sandi Jackson (plea)
- Jack Johnson (violation of Mann Act) not looking good
- Marion Jones (steroids) 
- John Walker Lindh (terrorism)
- Bradley Manning (espionage)
Chris McNair (bribery)
- Michael Milken (junk bond king)
- Serena Nunn (sentence commuted by Clinton)
- Leonard Peltier (double murder)
- O. Henry (embezzlement)  
- Jonathan Pollard (spying)  
- Tony Rezko (corruption) a "spokesman" has said it will not happen
- George Ryan (corruption), released 
- Michael G. Santos (cocaine distribution)   
- Richard Scrushy (bribery)
- Don Siegelman (trading favors for contributions)
- Wesley Snipes (income tax evasion)
- Edward Snowden
- Martha Stewart (conspiracy)
- Michael Vick (conspiracy to operate interstate dogfighting ring)
- Mark E. Whitacre (wire fraud, tax fraud, and money laundering)

- Chris Williams (drugs)

See anyone missing? Let us know. Make your case! We might very well add them! Incidentally, we are not keeping score here. But, in the past, the following people appearing on our "Watch List" have received pardons or commutations: Ignacio Ramos, Jose CompeanCharlie Winters, John Forte, Lawrence Hutchins.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Watch List 2012: Some Modifications

Some modifications to our Pardon Watch List for 2012. We remove John Edwards and add Stephen Arrington. Please no betting. Here are some  individuals who have 1) expressed interest in clemency 2) been mentioned in media outlets as deserving clemency or 3) are being supported for clemency through assorted "campaigns":

- Clarence Aaron (drug conviction)
Stephen Lee Arrington (cocaine trafficking)
- ACORN (voter fraud)
- Weldon Angelos (marijuana) 
- Jim Black (corruption) 
Barry Bonds (obstruction of justice) 
- Randall "Duke" Cunningham (bribery, tax law violations)
- Edwin Edwards (racketerring) application rejected by Bush
- Katie Hall (mail fraud)
- Dan Hanks (quite the rap sheet!)
- Ron Isley (tax evasion)
- William Jefferson (bribery, corruption)
- Jesse Jackson, Jr. (plea)
- Jack Johnson (violation of Mann Act) not looking good
- Marion Jones (steroids) 
- John Walker Lindh (terrorism)
Chris McNair (bribery)
- Michael Milken (junk bond king)
- Serena Nunn (sentence commuted by Clinton)
- Leonard Peltier (double murder)
- O. Henry (embezzlement)  
- Jonathan Pollard (spying)  
- Tony Rezko (corruption) a "spokesman" has said it will not happen
- George Ryan (corruption)  
- Michael G. Santos (cocaine distribution)   
- Richard Scrushy (bribery)
- Don Siegelman (trading favors for contributions)
Wesley Snipes (income tax evasion)
- Martha Stewart (conspiracy)
- Michael Vick (conspiracy to operate interstate dogfighting ring)
- Mark E. Whitacre (wire fraud, tax fraud, and money laundering)

- Chris Williams (drugs)

See anyone missing? Let us know. Make your case! We might very well add them! Incidentally, we are not keeping score here. But, in the past, the following people appearing on our "Watch List" have received pardons or commutations: Ignacio Ramos, Jose CompeanCharlie Winters, John Forte, Lawrence Hutchins.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Pardon Watch List, 2012

OK, here is our first run of the Pardon Watch List for 2012. Please no betting. Here are some  individuals who have 1) expressed interest in clemency 2) been mentioned in media outlets as deserving clemency or 3) are being supported for clemency through assorted "campaigns":

- Clarence Aaron (drug conviction)
- ACORN (voter fraud)
- Weldon Angelos (marijuana) 
- Jim Black (corruption) 
Barry Bonds (obstruction of justice) 
- Randall "Duke" Cunningham (bribery, tax law violations)
- Edwin Edwards (racketerring) application rejected by Bush
- John Edwards (illegal use of campaign funds)
- Katie Hall (mail fraud)
- Dan Hanks (quite the rap sheet!)
- Ron Isley (tax evasion)
- William Jefferson (bribery, corruption)
- Jack Johnson (violation of Mann Act) not looking good
- Marion Jones (steroids) 
- John Walker Lindh (terrorism)
Chris McNair (bribery)
- Michael Milken (junk bond king)
- Leonard Peltier (double murder)

- O. Henry (embezzlement)  
- Jonathan Pollard (spying)  
- Tony Rezko (corruption) a "spokesman" has said it will not happen
- George Ryan (corruption)  
- Michael G. Santos (cocaine distribution)   
- Richard Scrushy (bribery)
- Don Siegelman (trading favors for contributions)
Wesley Snipes (income tax evasion)
- Martha Stewart (conspiracy)
- Michael Vick (conspiracy to operate interstate dogfighting ring)
- Mark E. Whitacre (wire fraud, tax fraud, and money laundering)

See anyone missing? Let us know. Make your case! We might very well add them! Incidentally, we are not keeping score here. But, in the past, the following people appearing on our "Watch List" have received pardons or commutations: Ignacio Ramos, Jose CompeanCharlie Winters, John Forte, Lawrence Hutchins.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Watch List: Countdown. One Last Look!

The final hours are ticking down on the Bush administration. So that means there is time for just one more look at our Pardon Watch List. When Obama takes office, we erase the slate - or most of it at any rate. New game in town.

Presidential Pardon Watch List - P.S. Ruckman, Jr.

- Clarence Aaron (drug dealing) Denied (12/23/08)
- Willie Mays Aikens (sold drugs to an undercover agent) X - released (6/5/08)
- Claude Allen (theft)
- Weldon Angelos - Application in
- Conrad Black (fraud and obstruction of justice) Application in.
- Duane Chapman (deprivation of liberty) X - won extradition battle (11/6/07)
- Roger Clemens Because we are insane and have too much time on our hands
- Jose Compean (illegal arrest of an alien) Sentence commuted (1/19/09)
- Randy Cunningham Denied
- Edwin Edwards (convicted of racketeering) Denied
- John Forte (cocaine) X - sentence commuted to end December 22, 2008 (11/24/08).
- Florita Bell Griffin (bribery, theft, money laundering)
- Gilmer Hernandez (civil rights violation)
- Lawrence Hutchins (soldier, murder X - sentence commuted to 11 years (5/9/08)
- Ron Isley (tax evasion)
- Jack Johnson (violated the Mann Act) Pardon of Charlie Winters a positive sign
- Marion Jones (steroids) Application in. If not Bush, Obama
- Bernard Kerik (corruption) A sleeper in the pile
- Scooter Libby (perjury, obstruction of justice) To most, "the big one"
- John Walker Lindh
(terrorism) Denied
- David H. McNab (smuggling and money laundering) Released, September 4, 2008
-
Michael Milken
(securities and reporting violations) Denied (Slate said "excellent chance")
- Julius Nasso (conspiracy, extortion)
- Tom Noe (illegal campaign contributions)
- O.Henry (embezzling bank funds) Hey, if we are pardoning dead people!
- Chibueze Okorie (driver for a heroine ring) Application in.
- Lance Persson
(drug dealing)
- Leonard Pielter
(double murder of FBI agents) Denied
- The Pig (tasting so good) X - White House spokesman says "no" (11/18/07)
- Jonathan Pollard (spying on behalf of Israel X - President says "no change" (5/13/08)
- Ignacio Ramos
(illegal arrest of an alien) Sentence commuted (1/19/09)
- George Ryan (corruption) Application in. Maybe he walks, if Edwards walks too
- David Safavian (lying to investigators)
- Richard Scrushy (corruption) less than the snowball's chance, for now
- Don Siegelman
(corruption) less than the snowball's chance, for now
- Jeffrey Skilling (fraud, conspiracy, insider trading)
- Martha Stewart (obstruction of justice) Waiting for Obama
- Ted Stevens (violation of ethics laws) Some are betting on it!
- James Tobin (false statement to FBI) Slate says "good chance"
- Michael Vick (conspiracy to operate interstate dogfighting ring) waiting for Obama
- Robert Steve Vukelic (knowledge of a felony, failing to reporting it to authorities)
- Mark E. Whitacre (wire fraud, tax fraud, and money laundering) Another sleeper.
- Charles T. Winters (violation neutrality laws). Pardoned December 23, 2008.
- Jason Charles Yeager (methamphetamine charges)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Watch List: Texans? Or No Texans?

After PardonPower did an interview with the Houston Chronicle last week, several major papers in the State of Texas have headlined the fact that our Pardon Watch List contains the names of Major League Baseball pitching great Roger Clemens and former Enron executive Jeffrey Skilling (see, for example, this article in today's Austin American Statesman). The Watch List also contains the name of another famous Texan, O. Henry, but we suppose no one cares much about dead guys any more.

Rusty Hardin, a middle-child lawyer who "shouted and pouted" but lost an Arthur Anderson case in 2002, represents Mr. Clemens. Hardin says the mere suggestion that Roger Clemens might be pardoned is "an insane invention of people who have too much time on their hands." This kind of language - no doubt, contributed to the New York Times' description of Hardin as an "entertainer." And Hardin proudly links to the article on his company's webpage.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Obama: The Watch List

December is almost here. 1 out of every 2 pardons and commutations of sentence over the last 39 years has been granted in the month of December. Word is that only a small pile of clemency recommendations has escaped the ubiquitous "NO" stamp of the Office of the Pardon Attorney. Although it appears that NO ONE has much of a chance of benefiting from federal executive clemency, here is a list of individuals who have 1) expressed interest in clemency 2) been mentioned in media outlets as deserving clemency or 3) are being supported for clemency through assorted "campaigns":

- Clarence Aaron (drug conviction)
Stephen Lee Arrington (cocaine trafficking)
- ACORN (voter fraud)
- Weldon Angelos (marijuana) 
- Jim Black (corruption) 
Barry Bonds (obstruction of justice) 
- Randall "Duke" Cunningham (bribery, tax law violations)
- Edwin Edwards (racketerring) application rejected by Bush
- Katie Hall (mail fraud)
- Dan Hanks (quite the rap sheet!)
- Ron Isley (tax evasion)
- William Jefferson (bribery, corruption)
- Jesse Jackson, Jr. (under investigation)
- Jack Johnson (violation of Mann Act) not looking good
- Marion Jones (steroids) 
- John Walker Lindh (terrorism)
- Kenny Lumpkin (crack offense)
Chris McNair (bribery)
- Michael Milken (junk bond king)
- Serena Nunn (sentence commuted by Clinton)
- Leonard Peltier (double murder)
- O. Henry (embezzlement)  
- Jonathan Pollard (spying)  
- Tony Rezko (corruption) a "spokesman" has said it will not happen
- George Ryan (corruption)  
- Michael G. Santos (cocaine distribution)   
- Richard Scrushy (bribery)
- Don Siegelman (trading favors for contributions)
Wesley Snipes (income tax evasion)
- Martha Stewart (conspiracy)
- Michael Vick (conspiracy to operate interstate dogfighting ring)
- Mark E. Whitacre (wire fraud, tax fraud, and money laundering)

- Chris Williams (drugs)

See anyone missing? Let us know. Make your case! We might very well add them! Incidentally, we are not keeping score here. But, in the past, the following people appearing on our "Watch List" have received pardons or commutations: Ignacio Ramos, Jose CompeanCharlie Winters, John Forte, Lawrence Hutchins.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Watch List: And Why Not?

As President Obama heads into his 400th day as President without granting a single pardon or commutation of sentence, John Adams (whom he will pass next on the "historically slow" list) is getting nervous in his grave. So, it might seem more silly than usual to produce a "Watch List." Nonetheless, we are keeping our eyes on the following:

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Watch List: Why George Ryan Will/Will Not Be Pardoned

With an eye toward weighing relevant factors and perhaps being a little amusing as well, here are the reasons, as I see them, that former Illinois Governor George Ryan will / or will not be pardoned by President Bush. Readers are invited to do the calculation on their own. And witty suggestions will certainly be welcomed (and added).

Why He Will Be Pardoned

* He is 74-years old
* He has health problems (Crohn's disease and diabetes)
* "The man has gone from being the governor of the state of Illinois to being a prisoner in the federal penitentiary. His career is gone. His reputation is gone. His pension for the moment is gone. . . . I think everybody's interests have been served" - James Thompson
* Ryan was quite generous with pardons himself
* A clemency petition will be supported by notables
* President Bush is also a Republican
* President Bush is a not-so-popular Republican who can relate to the plights of other not-so-popular Republicans
* There is an upward trend in the number of pardons and commutations across Bush's administration
* It is the fourth year of the President's term (when most presidents have granted their highest number of pardons)
* "Controversy" could be easily neutralized by pardoning some convicted Democratic governor as well (and there are plenty of them out there)
* Because any "controversy" that follows will largely be the narrow uphill effort of partisan critics trying to fulfill their own prophesies about the potential harm of "controversy" they will attempt to create
* Dan Rostenkowski, Mel Reynolds and Dorothy Rivers (yesterday's lettuce, no one cares, all of them were from Illinois and clemency on their behalf had zero impact)
* Chandra Gill and Sharon Latiker (current news, the here and the now)
* Linking corruption to the State of Illinois might not be the best PR in the world for one presidential candidate (details schmetails!)
* The Office of the Pardon Attorney has a huge backlog and could stand to do some application dumping
* Bush will not allow his clemency legacy to be summarized by mere reference to Scooter Libby
* Because George Ryan was identified on the Pardon Watch List way back in November of 2007 as a "could be" (see List here)

Why He Will Not Be Pardoned

* Charles Manson is also 74-years old
* Manson does not appear to be in the best of health either (just not the same since the failed Monkees audition)
* Because President Bush wants to preserve his spotless, criticism-free legacy in the White House
* It is an election year and Bush would not want to shock millions of Americans by alerting them, for the very first time, to the possibility that corruption might somehow be associated with politics in the State of Illinois
* Richard Leche, Warren McCray and Marvin Mandel are currently unable to roll over in their graves
* Because Bush is a Republican (they tend to pardon less)
* Because Bush is a former governor (they tend to pardon less)
* Because Bush followed Clinton's pardon disasters
* The Office of the Pardon Attorney has a huge backlog and getting around to a Ryan application might take years
* By January of 2009, Ryan will have only served 15 months of his 78-month sentence

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Watch List: "No" to Pollard Appeal

There may be 75,000 signatures on a petition, but ABC News reports President Obama "slam the door" on any appeal for a commutation of the life sentence given to "Israeli spy" Jonathan Pollard (see our Pardon Watch List here). Jay Carney said, "Our position has not changed, and will not change today. Mr Pollard was convicted of extremely serious crimes." The remarks came as Presidency Obama was about to meet with Israeli President Shimon Peres - who is said to be "under pressure" to reject the presidential medal of freedom if clemency is not offered to Pollard. Obama previously rejected a request from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to free Pollard. An Israeli petition urging Pollard's release is said to have 75,000 signatures. See story here.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Watch List: Aaron's Torpedoed Application

For some years now, we have shared San Francisco Chronicle Debra Saunders' interest in the Clarence Aaron case and we have listed Mr. Aaron on our Pardon Watch List for some time as well.

Now comes a report in the Washington Post which reveals the White House "sent Aaron’s application back to the pardon office for reconsideration in early 2008 as part of a larger push to find clemency candidates."

The report notes, however, that "key elements" shifted in Aaron’s favor. A new U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, for example, supported his petition for clemency, arguing for immediate action. In addition, the U.S. District Court Judge who sentenced Aaron changed his earlier silence on the matter to also support Aaron's application. Indeed, the judge told a lawyer in the Office of the Pardon Attorney that Mr. Aaron “should be granted relief.”

But, at some point along the way, U.S. Pardon Attorney Ronald Rodgers took over the file.

The report says Rodgers "offered no new recommendation" to the White House. Nor did he "revise the old one." In addition, "years of favorable prisoner reports" were pushed aside and Rodgers simply "resubmitted the 2004 denial recommendation, unchanged, to the White House."

Finally, the report claims associate White House counsel, Kenneth Lee, was not informed that the sentencing judge supported the application. Instead, Lee was simply told the judge was not opposing it. Lee was also told that the new prosecutor thought "Aaron’s commutation request is about 10 years premature.” See Post story here.

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