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November 22, 2007

Few giving the President sentencing thanks

It has become something of a holiday tradition on this blog to lament President George Bush's stingy clemency record.  Helpfully, this strong article in the Los Angeles Times — which is entitled "Clemency bids backing up for Bush; More than 3,000 petitions by federal inmates are pending; The president acted on only 18 in fiscal 2007" — provides extra gravy and stuffing for the story this year.  Here are snippets:

The federal clemency system is approaching gridlock as a surge in applications for pardons and commutations has resulted in the largest and most persistent backlog of cases in recent history, according to federal data obtained by the Los Angeles Times....

The backlog has grown sharply in recent months. After acting on several hundred petitions each year since 2001, Bush closed only 18 cases in fiscal 2007, which ended Sept. 30.  The last action Bush took was to commute the 30-month prison term of former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby in July....

Critics say the lack of action on clemency applications reflects an abandonment by Bush of the discretion he holds under the Constitution to commute sentences. Bush has granted 113 pardons and commuted four sentences since taking office. That is the lowest number of any president since World War II, except for President George H.W. Bush, who granted 74 pardons and three commutations in his one term.  The critics also said the backlog raises questions about whether the Justice Department is up to the task of assessing petitions in an orderly and fair way.

P.S. Ruckman provides effective coverage of this story and other related clemency issues at his blog.

November 22, 2007 at 11:16 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Few giving the President sentencing thanks

I imagine that many of the victims and their families are grateful.

Posted by: | Nov 23, 2007 9:12:17 AM

In January, 2007 I have put in a clemency for two of our clients. As of this date we have heard nothing and these guys really deserve to get the clemency. They are brothers. They have been serving 14 years already; if they would have signed a plea agreement instead of fighting the government; they would have been out 10 years ago. This doesn't make any sense. These guys have never been in trouble before; perfect navy records; ideal inmate records; finished degrees. So very smart. This makes me sick and it is not fair that more are not reviewed and given consideration. The only thing is... I don't know what else to do about it or what to do to help them. Thanks for your articles. I always read and keep up with them. You are a blessing.

Posted by: Marta Gillespie | Nov 23, 2007 10:56:53 PM

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