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President's Power of Pardon
Townhall.com ^ | November 4, 2012 | Debra J. Saunders

Posted on 11/04/2012 3:51:37 AM PST by Kaslin

President Bill Clinton used his presidential pardon power in July 2000 to commute the sentence of Serena Nunn, who was sentenced to 15 years for a first-time nonviolent drug offense when she was 19. The pardon shaved three years off Nunn's sentence. Nunn told me over the phone, "I thought then that it was a great thing that a president used his power to help an average person."

Nunn later graduated from college and then the University of Michigan Law School. Last month, having passed a character fitness test, Nunn passed the Georgia bar. On Monday, she will be sworn in as an attorney.

How can a convicted felon become an attorney? The answer is not that Nunn wasn't guilty. She broke the law. She admits it. She knows she deserved some punishment.

But 15 years? That hard time was a function of a federal mandatory minimum system that overly punishes women who foolishly refuse to testify against their drug dealer boyfriends. "If mandatory minimum sentencing did not exist, no judge in America, including me, would have ever sentenced Ms. Nunn to 15 years in prison based on her role in the conspiracy, her age and the fact that she had no prior criminal convictions before the instant offense," sentencing Judge David Doty later wrote to Clinton.

Nunn's luck changed when Families Against Mandatory Minimums publicized her plight. In 1997, right-leaning lawyer Sam Sheldon read about Nunn in the Minneapolis Star Tribune and was outraged. He took on her case pro bono and then proceeded to hector prosecutors and local politicians in his bid to win Nunn a presidential commutation.

Sheldon, who works for the Justice Department, later became a federal prosecutor. He and his family will be there to watch Nunn take the oath.

Nunn knows that she is blessed. She has seen others leave prison only to face a "permanent punishment," of doors slammed when ex-convicts looked for work or social acceptance.

But she had the Families Against Mandatory Minimums, Sheldon, a pass from prominent politicians and a great-grandmother who told her, "You outlive it."

"She meant," Nunn said, "that when you let your good outdo your bad, then you've outlived it. You can be remembered for something better than your mistake."

Nunn has applied for a presidential pardon, which would erase her conviction. "I'll never be able to wipe away what I did and the fact that I went to prison," said Nunn, "but I can do the best that I can when I go forward."

During our talk, Nunn never brought up the subject of race. She is black, like so many other victims of the federal system's oversize boot.

Despite his erstwhile criticism of federal mandatory minimums, America's first black president may be of little to no help to her. I thought President George W. Bush was stingy with the pardon power, but Bush did issue two commutations in his first term, 11 total, as well as a total of 189 pardons. The Bush record beats Barack Obama's one commutation and 22 pardons.

Maybe Obama will be better after the election, some hope, when, win or lose, he could commute sentences without fear of alienating voters.

Political science professor P.S. Ruckman expects only "the usual tinkling of December pardons." If, however, Obama does issue a spate of commutations, expect some crony clemency, like Clinton's out-the-door pardon of well-connected rich fugitive Marc Rich.

Mitt Romney is "no big ball of hope," either, Ruckman said of the other guy. As Massachusetts governor, Romney granted none of the 15 pardon or three commutation recommendations sent from his parole board.

Conventional wisdom holds that there is no political upside to granting pardons and commutations. In the end, however, presidents often find some mercy for their pals. The question is whether they can spare a shot at a second chance for the average unconnected offender.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: barackobama; billclinton; illegal; judgesandcourts; mittromney; pardon; pardons

1 posted on 11/04/2012 3:51:43 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

I’m sure everyone in Gitmo would be on his list.


2 posted on 11/04/2012 4:00:34 AM PST by maddog55 (OBAMA: Why stupid people shouldn't vote!)
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To: Kaslin

Oh geez I forgot about this. The Kenyan is probably going to pardon as many Jihadists as he can and then blame it on Bush.


3 posted on 11/04/2012 4:01:41 AM PST by GrandJediMasterYoda (Someday our schools we will teach the difference between "lose" and "loose")
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To: Kaslin

They will have to ramp up the bureau of engraving and printing to put together the paperwork for the pardons needed for those in his administration and his cronies on his subsidy lists.


4 posted on 11/04/2012 4:04:57 AM PST by Mouton (Voting is an opiate of the electorate. Nothing changes no matter who wins..)
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To: Kaslin
Nunn never brought up the subject of race.

... so we will, just because it might be useful to bash something.

She is black, like so many other victims of the federal system's oversize boot.

There - see how that works?

5 posted on 11/04/2012 4:06:51 AM PST by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
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To: Kaslin
Obama is going to be so bitter from losing he is gonna pardon every Leftist and Islamist he can...then resign on Jan 19 so that Bite-me can pardon him.
6 posted on 11/04/2012 4:08:22 AM PST by Happy Rain ("Remember the Benghazi 4")
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To: Kaslin

If you have lived clean for a certain period of time your rights should be restored. Even if you are a felon.


7 posted on 11/04/2012 4:13:36 AM PST by ColdSteelTalon (Light is fading to shadow, and casting its shroud over all we have known...)
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To: Kaslin

Federal drug laws are unconstitutional, period, FReepers supporting them and thereby giving the left cover to abuse the *Interstate* Commerce Clause for regulating everything notwithstanding.

If I were President, I would declare the drug laws as such and pardon all federal simple drug offenses. That’s almost as good as the Supremne Court doing so.


8 posted on 11/04/2012 4:18:21 AM PST by UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide (REPEAL WASHINGTON! -- Islam Delenda Est! -- I Want Constantinople Back. -- Rumble thee forth.)
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To: All

the article doesnt talk about clinton pardoning marc rich,a shyster that lives in switzerland and avoided us prosecution until his wife paid for the clinton library. and of course, she’s from new york,as if you couldnt guess.


9 posted on 11/04/2012 4:20:43 AM PST by willywill
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To: Kaslin
...if you thought over 900 executive orders was over the top in three and a half years, you ain’t seen nothing yet, watch what Obama does in three months....problem being we won’t know.

Not only that but in the 3 months AFTER he loses the election, he will rack up the most pardons in history (including pardoning himself). Since he is NOT a qualified President under the articles of the US Constitution's requirement of citizenship, his EOs as well as all pardons (including his) will be null and void.

I don't expect impeachment will happen during the lame duck secession but I DO expect he will be brought before a court of law after he leaves office and the DOJ under President Romney will rule the imposter-in-chief guilty of high treason. Even if we don't win a majority in the senate, the crime will be so HUGE everything (especially Obamacare) will be struck down.

Folks, this is going to be historic to say the least.

10 posted on 11/04/2012 4:26:37 AM PST by Evil Slayer ((Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war....))
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To: Kaslin
Well,one thing's for sure...everyone who was even remotely connected to the sale of Osama’s Senate seat...including JJ Jr...will get one.
11 posted on 11/04/2012 4:29:02 AM PST by Gay State Conservative (Ambassador Stevens Is Dead And The Chevy Volt Is Alive)
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To: Kaslin

My first Obama pardon prediction that will piss alot of people off:

Mumia Abu-Jamal


12 posted on 11/04/2012 4:29:35 AM PST by submarinerswife (Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, while expecting different results~Einstein)
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To: maddog55

Aren’t the prisoners at Gitmo military prisoners and not subject to the legal system and pardon?

Only a military officer can make the release.


13 posted on 11/04/2012 4:35:27 AM PST by bert ((K.E. N.P. N.C. +12 ..... Present failure and impending death yield irrational action))
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To: Kaslin

bfl


14 posted on 11/04/2012 4:38:56 AM PST by RoosterRedux (Obama: "If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.")
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To: ColdSteelTalon
If you have lived clean for a certain period of time your rights should be restored. Even if you are a felon.

No,no,no,no,no...a million times *no*! Not for adults,certainly.For a kid who commits a *minor* crime,maybe.But otherwise...NO!!!!!

15 posted on 11/04/2012 4:41:21 AM PST by Gay State Conservative (Ambassador Stevens Is Dead And The Chevy Volt Is Alive)
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To: Kaslin

A felon allowed to become a lawyer? And lawyers wonder why they’re so deeply despised by the American people.


16 posted on 11/04/2012 4:43:01 AM PST by Gay State Conservative (Ambassador Stevens Is Dead And The Chevy Volt Is Alive)
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To: bert
Only a military officer can make the release.

Or the Secretary of the Navy...the Secretary of Defense...or,well you know.Also,there's a Federal appeals court that deals exclusively with the military (can't recall its name)...I'll bet *they* have the authority as well.

17 posted on 11/04/2012 4:46:52 AM PST by Gay State Conservative (Ambassador Stevens Is Dead And The Chevy Volt Is Alive)
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To: submarinerswife

I don’t think the president can pardon someone convicted by a state court.


18 posted on 11/04/2012 4:52:02 AM PST by Rider on the Rain
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To: Rider on the Rain
I don’t think the president can pardon someone convicted by a state court.

I really hope you are right!

It will be someone that has a huge following with the hippie, liberal college professor/student crowd.

Change my prediction to: Leonard Peltier

19 posted on 11/04/2012 5:04:08 AM PST by submarinerswife (Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, while expecting different results~Einstein)
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To: Rider on the Rain

That’s right - no pardon for Mumia except from the Gov of Pennsylvania.


20 posted on 11/04/2012 5:10:20 AM PST by only1percent
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To: Rider on the Rain

That’s right - no pardon for Mumia except from the Gov of Pennsylvania.


21 posted on 11/04/2012 5:10:22 AM PST by only1percent
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To: ColdSteelTalon

“If you have lived clean for a certain period of time your rights should be restored. Even if you are a felon.”

That’s why all 50 states have regulations and laws in place restoring voting rights to felons. Some have to jump through hoops to get that right restored but most say simply that you must have served your time. In Vermont and Maine, even incarcerated felons may vote.

http://felonvoting.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=286


22 posted on 11/04/2012 5:18:19 AM PST by Holly_P
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To: Gay State Conservative; ColdSteelTalon

I agree with Cold. There are exceptions of course, but sometimes having a felony conviction is about what you did and not who you are. It depends on the felony, and the person.


23 posted on 11/04/2012 5:27:53 AM PST by kdot
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To: Evil Slayer
Wishful thinking.

Leftists still think Bush should be tried for war crimes.

An indictment against Obama (no matter how legitimate) will be viewed as a partisan attack, by libs, and in their miniscule brains, legitimize every attack on Rs or conservatives.

For liberals, it isn't about bipartisanship and good of the nation. Its about us vs them. Their policies only. Scorched earth. They would destroy the earth to prevent others from succeeding.

Even if Pubbies take over control of the Senate, Mittens will still play along to get along.

Remember revenge. Sooner or later Dems will get back in power. And when they do, they will attack for spite and revenge.

They don't care about laws (except their "laws")

They don't care about good of the nation, just what they perceive as good for them.

Libs niew us NOT JUST as the enemy, they would exterminate us and our views. They believe WE are the ones PREVENTING their utopia.

24 posted on 11/04/2012 6:10:03 AM PST by mountn man (Happiness is not a destination, its a way of life.)
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To: willywill; Condor51; Grampa Dave; stephenjohnbanker; GOPJ; sickoflibs; Alberta's Child
Thanks for bringing up the Rich pardon, will.

Clinton's sleazy last-minute pardon for Marc Rich----a tax evading shyster, who renounced his US citizenship, then absconded to Israel, then Swizerland, to evade US justice----bought his pardon by Laundering Big Bucks through his ex-wife----which included paying for the Clinton library........

And don't forget that the pardon was facilitated by none other than sitting USAG Eric Holder---who was then Asst AG to Auntie Janet Reno.

The calculated Holder never "bothered" to notify the DOJ that the Rich pardon was eminent---even though that is the accepted protocol.

Marc Rich's pardon is in the history books as one of the sleaziest maneuvers by any president.....living or dead.

Rich is infamous as the biggest tax evader in US history---and was caught trading with America's enemies.

The pardon was supposed to facilitate Rich traveling back to the US to see his sick daughter---but the brouhaha caused by the pardon nixed that plan.

To the best of our knowledge, Rich never came back to the US---unless he sneaked back in under an alias.

25 posted on 11/04/2012 6:49:22 AM PST by Liz ("Come quickly, I'm tasting the stars," Dom Perignon)
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To: Rider on the Rain
I don’t think the president can pardon someone convicted by a state court.

Federal courts can,and do,reverse convictions handed down in state courts so one might expect that the Federal Executive,the President,can *pardon* such people.The reverse,however,clearly isn't true...a Governor cannot pardon someone convicted in a Federal court.I suppose I could be wrong...I'm certainly not a lawyer.I didn't even stay in a Holiday Inn last night.

26 posted on 11/04/2012 6:58:48 AM PST by Gay State Conservative (Ambassador Stevens Is Dead And The Chevy Volt Is Alive)
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To: Gay State Conservative; Rider on the Rain
Federal courts can,and do,reverse convictions handed down in state courts so one might expect that the Federal Executive,the President,can *pardon* such people.

A presidential pardon applies only to federal crimes. A person convicted of a state crime cannot be pardoned by the President. Similarly, the holder of a presidential pardon can still be tried and convicted of a state crime.

27 posted on 11/04/2012 7:12:55 AM PST by okie01 (THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA; Ignorance on parade.)
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To: Kaslin

What if its found that Obama cannot legally pardon anyone?

I guess the joke will be on them big time.


28 posted on 11/04/2012 7:15:26 AM PST by Eye of Unk (OPSEC)
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To: Kaslin

But 15 years? That hard time was a function of a federal mandatory minimum system that overly punishes women who foolishly refuse to testify against their drug dealer boyfriends. “If mandatory minimum sentencing did not exist, no judge in America, including me, would have ever sentenced Ms. Nunn to 15 years in prison based on her role in the conspiracy, her age and the fact that she had no prior criminal convictions before the instant offense,” sentencing Judge David Doty later wrote to Clinton.


Perhaps she should become an advocate for young women and warn them of the dangers of hanging out with drug dealing losers.


29 posted on 11/04/2012 7:22:59 AM PST by Rides_A_Red_Horse (If there is a war on women, the Kennedys are the Spec Ops troops.)
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To: Liz
The pardon was supposed to facilitate Rich traveling back to the US to see his sick daughter---but the brouhaha caused by the pardon nixed that plan. To the best of our knowledge, Rich never came back to the US---unless he sneaked back in under an alias.

I don't think this is correct. What nixed any plan by Rich to travel back to the U.S. was that Clinton's pardon was limited to what a presidential pardon could address: Rich's Federal crimes. Rich was also facing prosecution for additional crimes at the state level, and no U.S. president has the authority to grant pardons in those cases.

As an FYI ... when a person leaves the U.S. to avoid prosecution (or for any other reason), any statutes of limitation for crimes he/she may have committed are effectively suspended while the person is out of the country. So if Marc Rich were to come back to the U.S. right now, the statute of limitations in the state cases wouldn't begin to run until he set foot on U.S. soil.

30 posted on 11/04/2012 7:26:20 AM PST by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
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To: Liz
The pardon was supposed to facilitate Rich traveling back to the US to see his sick daughter---but the brouhaha caused by the pardon nixed that plan. To the best of our knowledge, Rich never came back to the US---unless he sneaked back in under an alias.

I don't think this is correct. What nixed any plan by Rich to travel back to the U.S. was that Clinton's pardon was limited to what a presidential pardon could address: Rich's Federal crimes. Rich was also facing prosecution for additional crimes at the state level, and no U.S. president has the authority to grant pardons in those cases.

As an FYI ... when a person leaves the U.S. to avoid prosecution (or for any other reason), any statutes of limitation for crimes he/she may have committed are effectively suspended while the person is out of the country. So if Marc Rich were to come back to the U.S. right now, the statute of limitations in the state cases wouldn't begin to run until he set foot on U.S. soil.

31 posted on 11/04/2012 7:26:45 AM PST by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
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To: submarinerswife
Obama can't pardon Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Presidential pardons can only be given in Federal cases. The only one who can pardon Mumia Abu-Jamal is the governor of Pennsulvania, and I don't think that is going to happen anytime soon.

32 posted on 11/04/2012 7:33:51 AM PST by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
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To: ColdSteelTalon
If you have lived clean for a certain period of time your rights should be restored. Even if you are a felon.

Agreed, with a few reservations. For those about whom I have those reservations, please consult my FReeper profile for my death penalty alternative.

33 posted on 11/04/2012 8:09:17 AM PST by JimRed (Excise the cancer before it kills us; feed &water the Tree of Liberty! TERM LIMITS, NOW & FOREVER!)
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To: Gay State Conservative
A felon allowed to become a lawyer?

Remeber, there are states and localities where practicing your Second Amendment rights makes you a felon. Should that person be barred from the practice of law?

All I'm saying is that the circumstances should be considered.

34 posted on 11/04/2012 8:15:35 AM PST by JimRed (Excise the cancer before it kills us; feed &water the Tree of Liberty! TERM LIMITS, NOW & FOREVER!)
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To: Liz

If Obozo loses big time, after he pardons all of his fellow criminals/traitors he would issues thousands of executive orders to weaken our country even more. We will need several Krey Super computers to keep track of the criminal buddies of Obozo getting pardoned by Obozo and more for his new executive orders.

Then, Obozo will resign as president the day before Romney is sworn in: .

1. When he resigns, that makes Biden President.
2. Then, Biden will pardon Obozo and his cabinet members of all crimes/misdeeds like Ford pardoned Nixon. Then, Biden will become the automatic pardon machine for rats in congress and in DC.

http://search.comcast.net/?cat=web&con=betac&form_submit=1&q=President+Ford+pardons+Nixon&top_SearchSubmit=

This might be the best outcome and one more reason to defeat the traitor with massive vote %’s for Romney/Ryan next Tuesday


35 posted on 11/04/2012 8:18:55 AM PST by Grampa Dave (We are the 53%, who pay taxes and keep this country going inspite of the 47% rat moochers!)
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To: bert

Obama to Release One Third of Gitmo Inmates

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2012/09/22/Obama-to-Release-One-Third-of-Gitmo-Inmates


36 posted on 11/04/2012 8:46:01 AM PST by maddog55 (OBAMA: Why stupid people shouldn't vote!)
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To: UnbelievingScumOnTheOtherSide

Agree.


37 posted on 11/04/2012 9:18:18 AM PST by Terry Mross (To former friends and relatives. Don't ever contact me if you still support obama.)
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To: Alberta's Child

Of course, you are so-o-o-o right.

Like everything about this sleazy pardon, suckups like Clinton and Holder——and users like Rich——concocted a phony sob story to make the outrageous pardon more palatable to us “little people.”


38 posted on 11/05/2012 4:51:57 AM PST by Liz ("Come quickly, I'm tasting the stars," Dom Perignon)
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To: All
Nunn refused to testify against her drug dealer boyfriend...which got her a 15 year sentence in a federal lockup.

QUESTION: Did her lawyer tell her the consequences of not testifyng---so she stupidly refused anyway? Or did she stupidly ignore her lawyer's advice?

Self-serving Nunn now says she just made a "mistake" by not testifying.

Oh, please.....that's no "mistake"...that's sheer stupidity. Only a sap-happy bleeding heart liberal would believe her sob story.

And now this dumbo's got a law degree? Just what we need----another corrupt lawyer in the legal system.

====================================

One key aspect conveniently ignored here-----the legal system compels that lawyers go to court w/ "clean hands"....meaning no crime was committed in the adjudication of justice.

This is what differentiates the US from every other country----our respect for the sacrosanct rule of law.

Nunn's actions serve to corrupt the rule of law AND tarnishes her standing in a court of law.

39 posted on 11/05/2012 4:59:30 AM PST by Liz ("Come quickly, I'm tasting the stars," Dom Perignon)
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To: Liz; Grampa Dave

At least Madoff clipped Rich for a few million : )


40 posted on 11/05/2012 11:40:02 AM PST by stephenjohnbanker ((God, family, country, mom, apple pie, the girl next door and a Ford F250 to pull my boat.))
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