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October 26, 2008

A profile of Prez pardons as we enter clemency season

Former pardon attorney Margaret Colgate Love sent me a terrific little document providing a "a very quick and dirty profile of the 157 individuals who have been pardoned by President Bush to date, as well as the five individuals whose sentences have been commuted."  The full document can be downloaded below, and here are a few snippets:

I found that of the 157 full pardons issued by President Bush to date, almost 2/3 went to people whose convictions had occurred more than 20 years before they were pardoned. Only a handful of pardons went to people convicted less than ten years before the pardon. Every single pardon recipient had fully served their sentence years before they were pardoned. Twenty-one of the pardon grants went to people convicted more than 35 years before, and eight of those pardoned were convicted in the 1940s and 50s.

By far the most frequently pardoned offenses are those falling into the general category of theft and fraud. But President Bush has also pardoned 29 drug offenders, 11 people convicted of a firearms-related offense, and eight tax evaders. In addition to the usual complement of bootleggers (11) and car thieves (7), there are teller embezzlers, thieving postal workers, gamblers, illegal dumpers, draft dodgers, and election law violators. The batch also includes the obligatory odometer cheat....

Only 18 of the 157 people pardoned spent more than two years in prison, and 16 of these were convicted of drug offenses. (The other two were an S&L fraudster sentenced to three years, and an armed bank robber sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment.)  Most surprising to me, more than two thirds of those pardoned spent no time in prison at all....

Something else that may be surprising to some, most of those pardoned (113) were not represented by a lawyer. Only one of the five individuals whose sentence was commuted was represented by counsel in connection with his clemency application....

Word on the street is that there will be more pardons after the election – and possibly even some before it. I would not be surprised to see a difference in the profile of those receiving pardons in the final weeks.

Download BushPardons.profile.10.08.doc

October 26, 2008 at 10:24 PM | Permalink


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Ms. Love states that "[a]s to those whose sentences were commuted by President Bush, all five were convicted of drug offenses in the early 1990s (in one case 1989), and three of them were within a few months of release in the ordinary course."

This appears to omit Scooter Libby, the highest-profile recipient of a sentence commutation, who was not a drug offender.

Posted by: Def. Atty. | Oct 27, 2008 10:42:11 AM

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