President pardons 17 felons in fourth act of clemencyThe New York Times | March 03,2013WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama issued pardons on Friday to 17 convicted felons, making the first use of his clemency powers in his second term.
Their offenses were largely small-scale crimes many years ago, and 12 of the people had not been sentenced to serve time in prison.
“As he has in past years, the president granted these individuals clemency because they have demonstrated genuine remorse and a strong commitment to being law-abiding, productive citizens and active members of their communities,” said Matt Lehrich, a White House spokesman.
Under the Constitution, the president has clemency powers to forgive convictions as a check and balance on the criminal justice system. For a felon who is already out of prison, a pardon can mean erasing the stigma and negative consequences associated with a criminal history, like restrictions on gun ownership, certain licenses and doing business with the government.
Obama did not issue any commutations, which shorten the sentences of inmates currently in prison.
During Obama’s first term, he exercised his clemency powers three times, issuing a total of 22 pardons and one commutation. He also denied 1,019 applications for a pardon and 3,793 applications for commutation. His rate of approvals was unusually low, by historical standards, based on statistics dating to 1900 on the Justice Department website.
Margaret Colgate Love, a former U.S. pardon lawyer who now represents clemency seekers, including two of the 17 people who received pardons on Friday, said she was pleased that Obama had quickly granted a number in his second term and hoped he would do so more regularly in coming years.
“There are thousands of deserving ordinary Americans who have long since paid their debt to society but remain burdened by legal and social restrictions, and are seeking to put their past behind them,” she said.
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1927, striking Colo. miners attacked with machine guns by state police; 1877, Thomas Edison announces invention of the phonograph, 1959, Alan Freed fired by WABC 770 AM for accepting payola to promote records.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivers short speech in Gettysburg, Pa.; in 1984, a Pemex LNG facility destroyed by series of gas explosions, 600 people are killed; in 1998, Senate builds fire under Bill Clinton.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1831 – Independent South American super-state, Gran Colombia, dissolved; 1856 - Fort Buchanan built to control Apache warriors; 1970 - William Calley Jr. goes on trial after 1968 massacre at My Lai, Vietnam.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Wisconsin Sen. Joe McCarthy takes advantage of Cold War jitters and builds a tidy little fiefdom for himself on Capitol Hill. It's all good, but pride goes before you know darn well what. The junior senator is damaged going down.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1927, Leon Trotsky is expelled from the Soviet Communist Party, leaving Joseph Stalin in control of the Soviet Union; in 1970, Oregon DOT tries to dynamite a dead whale off a beach with a rather shocking result.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: In 1972, Southern Airways Flight 49 is hijacked, the crew and passengers held for ransom. The hijackers want $10 million and passage to Cuba. In 2007, in Santiago, Chile, King Juan Carlos of Spain loses patience with Hugo Chavez.