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rfields5421
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Learned something new today "Presidential Pardons"

Sat Oct 15, 2016 5:17 pm

I've watched with mild interest as various people have been pardoned recently. President Obama seems interested in removing some of the gross miscarriages of justice involved in sentencing non-violent drug offenders.

Learned today that most of those issued are not pardons, but commutations despite what is reported in the media.

The difference is that the pardon vacates the conviction. The commutation does not.

Also most of Obamas commutations require a period of time in a halfway house, drug testing and drug rehab.

One federal inmate in Texas turned down commutation of his 20 year sentence for crack possession, because he will complete his sentence before the terms of the commutation would be completed.
 
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PacificBeach88
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Re: Learned something new today "Presidential Pardons"

Sat Oct 15, 2016 5:26 pm

There's a big difference between commuting one's sentence and pardoning. See Scooter Libby for an instance where Cheney had a 17th heart attack over.
 
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LAX772LR
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Re: Learned something new today "Presidential Pardons"

Sun Oct 16, 2016 7:32 am

Keep in mind, he can only do this on a federal level.

IINM, the majority of drug convictions are far and away, state crimes.
They won't be affected by a commutation nor pardon from the President.
 
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HGL
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Re: Learned something new today "Presidential Pardons"

Sun Oct 16, 2016 7:58 am

rfields5421 wrote:
The difference is that the pardon vacates the conviction. The commutation does not.


Could you please clarify what is meant by "vacates the conviction". If it simply means that a person who is convicted is released from further service of any sentence, than I understand correctly. But I am unclear whether you mean that the original conviction is set aside.

My understanding is that a pardon does not adjudge a person's guilt or innocence. The original conviction still stands and the act of pardon effectively becomes remission of sentence. On the other hand, commutation simply means replacing the original sentence that was imposed, for example when a death sentence is commuted to life imprisonment.

That's how things work in Australia (although we don't have the death penalty here) but I fully understand that the laws of the US may be different, hence my asking.
 
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pu
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Re: Learned something new today "Presidential Pardons"

Sun Oct 16, 2016 9:16 pm

I think the morning of 20 January 2017 will see hundreds if not thousands of pardons/commutations from Obama.

I hope he pardons both Trump and Clinton simultaneously, regardless of who wins the election, just so everyone can move forward instead of constantly investigating each other.

Pu.
 
sccutler
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Re: Learned something new today "Presidential Pardons"

Sun Oct 16, 2016 9:36 pm

A true pardon means the criminal conviction no longer exists - your record is wiped clean.

pu wrote:
I think the morning of 20 January 2017 will see hundreds if not thousands of pardons/commutations from Obama.

I hope he pardons both Trump and Clinton simultaneously, regardless of who wins the election, just so everyone can move forward instead of constantly investigating each other.

Pu.


This would be an interesting move. Something calculated to help the country move forward.

Interesting question: who has more to be pardoned for?
 
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Aesma
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Re: Learned something new today "Presidential Pardons"

Mon Oct 17, 2016 12:05 am

I've just read some wikipedia pages on this and it's rather confusing. You can ask for a pardon, but only 5 years after having been convicted or even released, so in the latter case it's effectively to wipe your criminal record clean. The US president can pardon whomever, whenever, even if there is no conviction yet, or even an inquiry, so that could apply to Clinton and/or Trump, and I guess it's what we see in many US TV shows (dozen of times in 24 for example).

Wiping the record of someone who has served his/her time, I have no real problem with it, however protecting people from judicial inquiry, I find that it infringes on the separation of powers. And since it's usually used to pardon politicians, it sends a terrible message.

In France the presidential power to reduce sentences is already controversial, and not much used, the president definitely cannot just decree that someone is innocent.

He has a power that the US president doesn't have, though, over the legislative branch : he can dismiss the lower chamber and call for new elections.
 
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pu
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Re: Learned something new today "Presidential Pardons"

Mon Oct 17, 2016 4:10 am

sccutler wrote:

This would be an interesting move. Something calculated to help the country move forward.

Interesting question: who has more to be pardoned for?


Most men who were actively dating women in the 70s and 80s have done just as bad as Trump with women, in my experience. I was at university/in the military in the 70s and we would routinely get women drunk just to...well, you know. Times have changed, to some extent for some demographics. But men the world over go too far with a women everyday, it's not right, but I do think Trump is more a creature of his generation than any kind of sex abuser. I'd be surprised if there are many men who are...ehm.....actively heterosexual who never once in their lives pressed a woman farther than she was comfortable going; or who never grabbed an ass, or who never took advantage of a drunk girl they met at a bar.

...and as for Clinton's emails, all military organisations around the world rely a lot on teenagers and very young adults and they are, in my experience, the equivalent of Clinton or worse in terms of their care and sloppiness with sensitive information. I spent most of my career at a bank at confidential financial information from government/law enforcement sources was sometimes haphazardly handled, and some people were just perpetually sloppy. Want Clinton did with email isn't right and she needs to set a better example, but much like Trump's sex habits, she's just in the same boat with a lot of people who have access to sensitive data in that she doesn't intend harm but isn't as protective as she should be.

So, unless someone really thinks they went well beyond what we already know, Obama should pardon them both - that we the world can put the whole 2016 election behind us, quicker!

Pu.
 
salttee
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Re: Learned something new today "Presidential Pardons"

Mon Oct 17, 2016 6:26 pm

pu wrote:
Most men who were actively dating women in the 70s and 80s have done just as bad as Trump with women, in my experience. I was at university/in the military in the 70s and we would routinely get women drunk just to...well, you know. Times have changed, to some extent for some demographics. But men the world over go too far with a women everyday, it's not right, but I do think Trump is more a creature of his generation than any kind of sex abuser. I'd be surprised if there are many men who are...ehm.....actively heterosexual who never once in their lives pressed a woman farther than she was comfortable going; or who never grabbed an ass, or who never took advantage of a drunk girl they met at a bar.

Thanks for the worldview of a lowlife.
 
rfields5421
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Re: Learned something new today "Presidential Pardons"

Mon Oct 17, 2016 7:31 pm

Aesma wrote:
I've just read some wikipedia pages on this and it's rather confusing. You can ask for a pardon, but only 5 years after having been convicted or even released, so in the latter case it's effectively to wipe your criminal record clean. The US president can pardon whomever, whenever, even if there is no conviction yet, or even an inquiry, so that could apply to Clinton and/or Trump.


The most infamous US presidential pardon was President Gerald R Ford issuing a pardon to former President Richard M. Nixon.

The Pardon issued as Presidential Proclamation 4311 - https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Proclamation_4311 made any charges against or prosecution of President Nixon for anything done while he was President impossible.

The Pardon did not have any impact upon the authority of the US House of Representatives to vote a Bill of Impeachment, however, the day Nixon resigned - the authority of the House and Senate to Impeach and to have a Senate Trial ended. (The only 'penalty' the Senate can impose is removal from office, so when he resigned - he was already removed from office.)

The Pardon was highly controversial at the time. Many (including me) believe such a Pardon was a negotiated part of the deal for Nixon to resign. The pardon did end what had been a paralysis of federal government, the Congress and the courts for almost 18 months as Watergate unfolded. The country, and the government, were able to put the incident behind them and move forward.
 
ContentCreator
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Re: Learned something new today "Presidential Pardons"

Mon Oct 17, 2016 7:34 pm

rfields5421 wrote:
Aesma wrote:
I've just read some wikipedia pages on this and it's rather confusing. You can ask for a pardon, but only 5 years after having been convicted or even released, so in the latter case it's effectively to wipe your criminal record clean. The US president can pardon whomever, whenever, even if there is no conviction yet, or even an inquiry, so that could apply to Clinton and/or Trump.


The most infamous US presidential pardon was President Gerald R Ford issuing a pardon to former President Richard M. Nixon.

The Pardon issued as Presidential Proclamation 4311 - https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Proclamation_4311 made any charges against or prosecution of President Nixon for anything done while he was President impossible.

The Pardon did not have any impact upon the authority of the US House of Representatives to vote a Bill of Impeachment, however, the day Nixon resigned - the authority of the House and Senate to Impeach and to have a Senate Trial ended. (The only 'penalty' the Senate can impose is removal from office, so when he resigned - he was already removed from office.)

The Pardon was highly controversial at the time. Many (including me) believe such a Pardon was a negotiated part of the deal for Nixon to resign. The pardon did end what had been a paralysis of federal government, the Congress and the courts for almost 18 months as Watergate unfolded. The country, and the government, were able to put the incident behind them and move forward.


I do agree it was dubious to pardon him but who exactly was Nixon negotiating with? I doubt Ford would have used this with back-room talks with member of congress, surely not? What other options did he have on the table?

I think it was sort of a wink-nod agreement. I doubt any sort of actual deal was made. What do you think?
 
rfields5421
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Re: Learned something new today "Presidential Pardons"

Mon Oct 17, 2016 8:17 pm

My opinion is that a condition of Nixon resigning was that a pardon be issued. The month delay between the resignation and the issuance of the pardon was to unlink the two.

I strongly suspect that Nixon told his aides and advisors that he would not resign as long as the possibility of criminal charges after he left office existed. Those aides would communicate that to the Vice-President, who I suspect consulted with key friends in Congress.

I think Nixon left office with a written Pardon promise in his pocket.

Rather than have some of the controversy die down after Nixon resigned, it actually got more vocal as some felt cheated Nixon didn't go to a Senate Trial. There were calls in California to indict him, and in DC.

Ford's Pardon ended all that, and IMHO was also a good thing for the country.

Even if Nixon didn't have a written promise, Ford was honorable enough to not back out of either an implied pardon and an agreed pardon.

In the immediate years after the pardon, Ford was trash talked by a lot of people. But in the end, Gerald Ford remains one of the most respected and honest people to ever serve in the House, and his value in keeping the country sane is becoming better understood with each passing year.

Gerald Ford might have been dull. And after too many insults this year, I miss him.
 
ElliottM
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Re: Learned something new today "Presidential Pardons"

Tue Oct 18, 2016 1:03 am

Interesting. I've recently seen governors issue pardons at the state level to vacate sex trafficking victims' convictions of "prostitution". However you feel about prostitution, being kidnapped and forced into sex slavery is quite different from consensual prostitution. Not only is the trafficking victim then freed, she (most are women) can find work and housing etc. without the prior conviction appearing on criminal background checks.

A side benefit of this from Obama's perspective is that the freed ex-convicts can now go vote - and most of them probably support Clinton. Convenient. The timing is clearly deliberate.
 
rfields5421
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Re: Learned something new today "Presidential Pardons"

Tue Oct 18, 2016 2:10 am

ElliottM wrote:
A side benefit of this from Obama's perspective is that the freed ex-convicts can now go vote - and most of them probably support Clinton. Convenient. The timing is clearly deliberate.


No - they don't get to vote because of Obama's actions. Plus there are a grand total of less than 200 people who have received pardons or commutations from Obama. Less than George W. Bush, or Ronald Reagan.

(And felons represent a cross section of society, their support for one party or another is usually proportional to the rest of voting in their home state.)

Obama has been commuting sentences and pardoning only a couple people in the past four years. People who have commuted sentences have to comply with a rehab program which will take years. They will only be able to vote on the same bases as other convicted felons after a period of time.

There is a young man in my family who is excited about voting this year. He was convicted of possession of meth when he was 18. This year completes he Texas state requirement for completion of his sentence, probation and all court supervision. He sentence is 'Completed' in the language of the Texas laws. So even with a federal felony on his record, he can legally vote.

However, he cannot be a candidate for any elected office in the state of Texas for the rest of his live. Only a pardon would allow him to do that.

The Constitution allows states to set the eligibility to vote. Between 1996 and 2008 - 28 states changed their laws on the voting rights of felons.

All 50 states have some provisions to allow felons to vote.

39 states allow felons to automatically be able to vote, all but two require completion of the sentence and/ or a period of probation, or just a waiting period.

The other 11 states have a process where non-violent felons in almost all cases can be eligible to vote, but it takes a petition in many of those states. Some states permanently bar persons convicted of major violent felonies, and some other major non-violent crimes. Mississippi bars felons convicted of several crimes from murder to bigamy as listed in the state constitution.
 
bmacleod
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Re: Learned something new today "Presidential Pardons"

Tue Oct 18, 2016 3:47 pm

The most infamous US presidential pardon was President Gerald R Ford issuing a pardon to former President Richard M. Nixon.

The Pardon issued as Presidential Proclamation 4311 - https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Proclamation_4311 made any charges against or prosecution of President Nixon for anything done while he was President impossible.

The Pardon did not have any impact upon the authority of the US House of Representatives to vote a Bill of Impeachment, however, the day Nixon resigned - the authority of the House and Senate to Impeach and to have a Senate Trial ended. (The only 'penalty' the Senate can impose is removal from office, so when he resigned - he was already removed from office.)

The Pardon was highly controversial at the time. Many (including me) believe such a Pardon was a negotiated part of the deal for Nixon to resign. The pardon did end what had been a paralysis of federal government, the Congress and the courts for almost 18 months as Watergate unfolded. The country, and the government, were able to put the incident behind them and move forward.


Bill Clinton's Marc Rich pardon along with other controversial pardons seem to have been forgotten. Where does that one rank?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Clinton_pardon_controversy
 
rfields5421
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Re: Learned something new today "Presidential Pardons"

Wed Oct 19, 2016 12:05 am

Clinton pardon ranks as a routine example of a pardon. Many pardons from presidents and governors have been 'bought' in the past, and it will always be a question in controversial cases.

Almost every president has had a couple highly questionable pardons.

The funny cases to me are those like Scooter Libby, whose sentence George W Bush commuted to preserve the conviction and fines, but remove the jail time. Many conservatives, and many 'journalists' on FoxNews called Libby's release of Top Secret classified information justified. They also screamed loud and long that it was an injustice not to give Libby a full pardon. Among those pushing for a full pardon was VP Cheney.

George H. W. Bush pardoned Reagan Secdef Casper Weinberger before he could be brought to trial. Would Weinberger's trial have brought a GHWB involvement in Iran-Contra?

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