President Obama granted 17 pardons today. The list is here. Most are low level offenders who got probation.
There are only two drug offenders in the group:
Michael John Petri – Montrose, South Dakota.
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of a controlled
substance (cocaine), 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a), 846.
Sentence: Five years imprisonment, three years supervised release.
Lynn Marie Stanek – Tualatin, Oregon.
Offense: Unlawful use of a communication facility to distribute cocaine, 21 U.S.C. § 843(b).
Sentence: Six months in jail, five years probation conditioned on residence in a
community treatment center for a period not to exceed one year.
On this day of sequester, why not commute the sentences of non-violent offenders serving double-digit sentences, and those under deportation orders who will be deported from prison when their time is up? At least we'd save some money -- $25-30,000 per inmate per year. Or seriously medically ill elderly inmates who cost even more to warehouse in medical prisons? If there were fewer inmates, we wouldn't need to spend so many billions on new prisons and contracts with private prisons.
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The Attorney General of Mississipi succeeded today in having a state court judge block 21 of the 200 pardons granted by outgoing Gov. Haley Barbour:
A Mississippi judge has temporarily blocked the release of 21 inmates who'd been given pardons or medical release by Republican Haley Barbour in one of his final acts as governor. Circuit Judge Tomie Green issued an injunction late Wednesday at the request of Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood.
AG Hood said the pardons violated the state constitution by not giving notice the inmates had applied for relief.
Harbour has now explained his actions: [More...]
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A new study by Pro Publica finds whites are four times more likely to receive a presidential pardon than minorities.
ProPublica's review examined what happened after President George W. Bush decided at the beginning of his first term to rely almost entirely on the recommendations made by career lawyers in the Office of the Pardon Attorney.
The office was given wide latitude to apply subjective standards, including judgments about the "attitude" and the marital and financial stability of applicants. No two pardon cases match up perfectly, but records reveal repeated instances in which white applicants won pardons with transgressions on their records similar to those of blacks and other minorities who were denied.
The methodology is explained here.
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President Obama has decided to pardon more than a White House turkey this Thanksgiving. Yesterday, he issued 5 pardons and commuted one sentence.
The pardons are unimpressive. Three of the pardons were issued to people who had received probation more than a decade ago. The other two pardons were issued to people who finished serving their sentences 20 years ago.
On the other hand, the commutation deserves praise: Obama commuted the sentence of a woman named Eugenia Jennings, who was sentenced in 2001 to 22 years (262 months) for distributing crack cocaine in the Southern District of Illinois. It was her third felony crack conviction. Under Obama's order, she'll be released next week, after serving 10 years. She'll still have to serve 8 years of supervised release.
I just finished reading her 2001 sentencing transcript and her rejected 2008 motion to reduce her sentence under the Sentencing Commission's two level reduction in crack cocaine guidelines that year. Both are available on PACER. It's a very interesting story, one the sentencing judge, G. Patrick Murphy, called a tragedy.
Here's the tragedy of Eugenia Jennings:[More...]
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President Bush recently granted two of his infrequent pardons to brothers in Colorado Springs. Their transgressions? Misdeanor sales of mounted owls.
Jerry and Thomas Moldenhauer sold migratory birds to an undercover Colorado Department of Wildlife officer in 1992 and 1993, court documents show, violating the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which prohibits the possession or sale of migratory birds, dead or alive, as well as their feathers, eggs or nests. Each man received three years of probation and a $1,000 fine.
I'm reading this article, shaking my head, thinking, well it must have been a one-time occurrence. Not quite.
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President Bush has issued fewer pardons than any president since World War II. But, Thursday, he awarded 16 of them.
Five of the pardons were in cases that involved drug crimes. Other cases involved bank fraud, mail fraud, the acceptance of a kickback, a false statement on a loan application and conspiracy to defraud the government over taxes.
Seven of the 16 received no prison or jail time when they were sentenced, instead getting probation or a reduction in their military pension. The longest sentence was nine years, for aiding cocaine distribution, followed by a six-year term for conspiracy to possess marijuana.
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