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November 26, 2015

So thankful for the renewed focus on federal clemency... but...

I am still annoyed and troubled that it still seems Prez Obama is more committed to making headlines with the silly annual tradition of pardoning turkeys than with clemency grants to federal defendants seeking commutations while serving excessively long sentences or those seeking relief from the collateral consequences of long-ago federal convictions.  This article, headlined "Obama pardons TOTUS — the Turkey of the United States," discusses the latest clemency work of Prez Obama in this arena:   

President Obama seemed to be trying out a Thanksgiving-themed comedy club act Wednesday as he engaged in the traditional White House turkey pardoning. "Feel free to keep on gobbling," Obama told the Rose Garden crowd as he announced that, also per tradition, two turkeys would be spared this Thanksgiving Eve.

"I can announce that the American people have spoken, and we have two winners," he said. "Their names are Honest and Abe — I confess that Honest looks like good eating, but this is a democracy." With daughters Malia and Sasha at his side, Obama declared that "Abe is now a free bird" and will now be designated "TOTUS — the Turkey of the United States."...

During the Rose Garden ceremony, Obama thanked his daughters "for once again standing here with me during the turkey pardoning ... They do this solely because it makes me feel good — not because they actually think that this is something I should be doing."...

The president weighed in on one of the Thanksgiving football games, sticking up for his hometown Chicago Bears. "I'm grateful for the fact the Bears are going to beat the Packers this weekend," Obama said (though it must be said that the Pack is a big favorite, and the game is in Green Bay).

He also took an obligatory poke at the news media: "I've got to listen to my critics say I'm often too soft on turkeys, and I'm sure the press is digging into whether or not the turkeys I've pardoned have really rededicated their lives to being good turkey citizens."

Obama pointed out that this was his seventh turkey pardoning as president. "Time flies," he said. "Even though turkeys don't."  As the crowd chuckled. Obama said: "I thought it was good. You think it's funny too, don't you?" Also: "I know some folks think this tradition is a little silly. I do not disagree."

November 26, 2015 at 09:27 AM | Permalink


Proposed federal statute.

1) To get federal crime prevention and management funding, states have to enact a law mandating a criminal record be expunged after five years of no felony or misdemeanor convictions, and that voting rights must be restored after that time.

And I hate lawyer exceptions, because they force people to hire lawyers.

However, here is one.

2) Employer submits the name to a government database, and describes the job. The employer shall be informed of the expunged conviction if relevant to the work.

A pedophile applies for a daycare job, yes, report to the employer.
A pedophile applies for a cashier job, do not report to employer.

A thief applies to a cashier job, yes, report to the employer.
A thief applies to a day care job, do not report to the employer.

A list of US Labor Department job titles should be incorporated into the law, and legislators must list the crimes relevant to each, so that bureaucrats have no discretion.

3) The prior conviction, if found in discovery, may not be entered into any tort litigation against the employer. In fairness to the plaintiff bar, a grossly negligent employer should not enjoy this immunity.

More than any anti-box or discriminatory/disparate impact problem, it is the fear of tort litigation that deters employers most. So they need this protection to hire felons.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 26, 2015 12:59:08 PM

Clemency/pardons, particularly for those with stale convictions ought to be liberally granted.

Posted by: federalist | Nov 26, 2015 1:34:00 PM

"Clemency/pardons, particularly for those with stale convictions ought to be liberally granted."

I'm thankful, I agree.

Posted by: Joe | Nov 26, 2015 2:42:38 PM


Sorry, but I believe there to be a large segment of the felonious population that simply should never again enjoy the rights of the law-abiding. I would prefer that we simply execute them but keeping them in prison for long periods and then making life as difficult as possible after release is the best that can be accomplished under the current law.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Nov 26, 2015 10:59:02 PM

At least the number of people Obama has pardoned is now higher than the number of turkeys, which was not true for a while: I'm thankful for that, in the be grateful for small blessings sort of way. But he could do a lot more. And next year he should end this "tradition" and make a public statement about why it should not be re-started, accompanied by significant numbers of human pardons.

Also, +1 to federalist and Joe on state-level pardons. Now that you say it, I don't think the current Texas guv has issued any yet.

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Nov 27, 2015 7:43:27 AM

The turkey thing is stupid, as suggested on West Wing, but there are stupid things out there. The appropriate thing there is to use it not just as a joke, but to make a serious statement. I personally would use if both to deal with treatment of animals/food safety/treatment of workers in the industry AND pardons etc. of human beings.

But, best you can there. I do think there were various policies of Obama that helped the population in question but there is rightful criticism that he is too conservative (just one issue too where this is true, tad ironic) in changing the pardon system. And, now it is so late, that I don't know what it really adds.

Posted by: Joe | Nov 27, 2015 9:21:20 AM

By liberally, of course, I mean where the risk is minimal and justified.

Posted by: federalist | Nov 27, 2015 12:06:14 PM

Ho-my-god help family stop the mandatory minimums help the kids stop the shis my god is time for this to stop congress get off your as and do it my god sentencing reform is time for congress to do the fucking jop help the kids and family my god is time to day off your as mr congress do it today yes .john katas judge

Posted by: John kats | Nov 30, 2015 6:35:43 PM


Posted by: dave | Dec 8, 2015 12:08:31 PM


Posted by: butt cheak | Dec 8, 2015 12:11:57 PM


Posted by: poopy face | Dec 8, 2015 12:15:33 PM

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