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December 22, 2020

Prez Trump issues 15 full pardons and 5 commutations on Festivus eve

As detailed in this White House press release, titled "Statement from the Press Secretary Regarding Executive Grants of Clemency," Prez Trump issued a set of notable clemency grants this evening.  Here are the basics from the statement:

Today, President Donald J. Trump granted Full Pardons to 15 individuals and commuted part or all of the sentences of an additional 5 individuals.

Alfonso Costa — President Trump granted a full pardon to Alfonso Costa, a dentist from Pittsburgh...

Alfred Lee Crum — President Trump granted Alfred Lee Crum a full pardon....

Crystal Munoz — Today, President Trump commuted Crystal Munoz’s remaining term of supervised release, having previously commuted her sentence of incarceration after she had served 12 years in prison....

Tynice Nichole Hall — President Trump has commuted the remainder of Tynice Nichole Hall’s term of supervised release.... 

Judith Negron — President Trump has today commuted the remainder of Judith Negron’s term of supervised release....

Steve Stockman — Today, President Trump commuted the remaining prison sentence of Steve Stockman....

Duncan Hunter – At the request of many Members of Congress, President Trump granted a full pardon to Duncan Hunter....

Chris Collins – Today, President Trump granted a full pardon to Chris Collins, at the request of many Members of Congress....

Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean – Today, President Trump granted full pardons to Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean....

George Papadopoulos – Today, President Trump granted a full pardon to George Papadopoulos....

Alex van der Zwaan – Today, President Trump granted a full pardon to Alex van der Zwaan....

Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard – Today, President Trump granted full pardons to Nicholas Slatten, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard....

Weldon Angelos – Today, President Trump granted a full pardon to Weldon Angelos.... 

Philip Lyman – Today, President Trump granted a full pardon to Philip Lyman....

Otis Gordon – Today, President Trump granted a full pardon to Otis Gordon.... 

Philip Esformes – Today, President Trump commuted the term of imprisonment of Philip Esformes, while leaving the remaining aspects of his sentence, including supervised release and restitution, intact. 

Many of these names are high-profile, and I suspect some of these grants will generate a bit of controversy.  I am particularly excited to see Weldon Angelos' name on this list. It was not that long ago that I was helping Weldon with his 2255 petition while he was incarcerated serving a ridiculous 55-year federal prison term for low-level marijuana dealing.  A few years ago, Weldon was able to secure release from prison, and he has been using his freedom to advocate on behalf of other persons subject to draconian sentences. I am so pleased now he gets to do so without any of the still-onerous collateral consequences that flow from even a low-level drug conviction.

Here are headlines from a few early press reports about these grants:

From The Hill, "Trump pardons individuals charged in Russia probe, ex-GOP lawmakers"

From the New York Times, "Trump Pardons Two Russia Inquiry Figures and Blackwater Guards"

From the Washington Post, "Trump grants clemency to 20 people, including three GOP former members of Congress and two men convicted in the Russia probe"

December 22, 2020 at 07:54 PM | Permalink

Comments

I am so happy for Weldon Angelos! His pardon is well-deserved, but we must not forget the dozens of other men still incarcerated in Federal prison with stacked 924(c) convictions. One of the craziest cases I saw while incarcerated at FCI - Manchester, Ky. was a man convicted of bank larceny! He had been a computer programmer with the bank vault company Diebold, which also makes automatic teller machines. He had inserted additional lines of code into the Operating System for the Diebold ATMS, so that he could go to any machine and punch in a certain code number that would cause the machine to unlock and open, so that he could take all of the money. He forgot that every time he did this, the ATM got video and pics of his face. He was soon identified and prosecuted for Bank Larceny, which carries lower Guidelines that Bank Robbery. He was looking at only 6 or so years in Federal Prison, until he had his PSR interview with the Probation Officer writing the PSR. His attorney did not properly prepare him for the interview. When the Probation Officer asked him if he had carried a weapon when he took the money from the ATMs, he revealed that on each occasion he had been carrying a pistol! After this revelation (which the Court had no evidence of until he told on himself during the PSR interview), he received a total sentence [the Indictment may have been Amended to add the 924(c) charges] of about 52 or 53 years! When his sentence was affirmed on appeal (about 2003) by the Circuit Court (6th or 4th, I forget which), he attempted suicide at work at UNICOR, by hanging himself with a bedsheet. Staff cut him down before he died, but he did lose his UNICOR job. There are still many Weldon Angeloses in Federal prison. A bank robber I know (Gary Settle) has a total sentence of about 167 years (he has already served about 30 years of it), which includes 155 years of stacked 924(c) sentences, one for each armed bank robbery. He was in his 20s and a drug addict at the time he committed the bank robberies. For decades now, he has been a clean, sober and normal person. Her also should not still be in prison.

Posted by: Jim Gormley | Dec 23, 2020 1:17:55 PM

Gary Settle is presently incarcerated at FCI-1, Butner, North Carolina. His OUT DATE is 9-11-2144!

Posted by: Jim Gormley | Dec 23, 2020 1:25:46 PM

Garry Settle was convicted in May 1993 and was sentenced in September 1993. He was 26 years old at sentencing, where he received a sentence of 177 years [including 165 years of stacked 924(c) gun time]. My prior memory of 167 years was in error.

Posted by: Jim Gormley | Dec 23, 2020 1:39:12 PM

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