January 20, 2001
7:38 AM   Subscribe

Clinton stressed that most of the people he would pardon have long since paid their debt to society and that the main intent of his executive action was to lift restrictions on voting and employment. That explains why Patti Hearst and the presidents brother gets one, and Leonard Peltier does not. I guess Bill know which side his is buttered on, and realizes he is going to be spending way more time with the FBI than with Indians in the coming years. Who else should have been pardoned? Who should not have?
posted by thirteen (16 comments total)
Why do I only read these over carefully, after I post them. Sorry for the poor reading above. Anybody have a complete list of those pardoned?
posted by thirteen at 7:41 AM on January 20, 2001

Why is it considered legitimate for Clinton to pardon his brother? I understand there's no constitutional proscription, but this seems like a grave misuse of presidential power.
posted by norm at 8:51 AM on January 20, 2001

After the Supreme Court called a halt to all vote co0unting so they could then later decide against Gore, there is no such thing as misjustice of anything! I eould pardeon everyone and nullify all. If Ford can Pardon Nixon, why can't Clinton pardon his brother?
posted by Postroad at 9:06 AM on January 20, 2001

Why does John Deutch, former director of the CIA, deserve a pardon preventing him from being tried for his security violations? Wen Ho Lee didn't get any such consideration, and although Lee commited more security violations, he wasn't in charge of American's chief spy agency at the time -- wouldn't trying Deutch have shown that even the powerful (and white) aren't outside the reach of justice?

Most of the pardons have to deal with giving the rights to vote, carry guns, and so forth, back to criminals who have already served their time, which seems minor enough, so I won't complain about Roger Clinton or Dan Rostenkowski. And Peltier deserves a new trial (although I think he's probably guilty), but I'm fairly convinced that this isn't going to happen. Ever. Mr. Peltier is going to die in jail before we get a politician with both the power and the capacity for moral indignation to do something about it.

The best use of Clinton's pardons? The four women who got shafted by mandatory sentencing guidelines involving their boyfriends' drug trafficking and were doing more time than their plea-bargaining boyfriends. Shame nobody important saw the larger flaw in mandatory sentencing, but I'm glad that they were freed.
posted by snarkout at 9:52 AM on January 20, 2001

I don't think that Leonard Peltier was not pardoned due to any bias. This guy was convicted of killing two Federal agents, if Clinton pardoned him it would undermine the power of the Federal government. The top government official pardoning a killer of government agents? Sounds a little crazy and the FBI and any other law official would have hated him too.

Kudos for pardoning Dan Rostenkowski. I live in his old district and he brought home the pork for us! He was just a victim of his political foes.

From this list, Clinton seems to have pardoned his friends and associates. That's no different that any other president. For God sake, Ford pardoned Nixon, that's perhaps is ultimate example of the misuse of a pardon.
posted by Bag Man at 11:21 AM on January 20, 2001

The FBI admited they couldn't prove Peltier killed anybody, so him being convicted of killing those agents is about as accurate as if you, Bag Man, were convicted of killing them.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 11:39 AM on January 20, 2001

Bag Man: I too live in D.R's old district. I don't think he deserved a pardon, I believe he was as dirty as they come. I will give you that he was a better man than Rod Blagojevich, and a giant when compared to Blagojevich's father in law, my alderman, Dick Mell.

As Illinois is a donor state, nobody brings home enough federal money, and failure to do so does not justify stealing taxpayer money. It was a fair cop, he was no victim.
posted by thirteen at 11:42 AM on January 20, 2001

I do agree with the Patti Hearst pardon BTW.
posted by thirteen at 11:46 AM on January 20, 2001

The complete list of those pardoned and who had their sentences commuted. Bonus points to anyone who can tell me who 98% of these people are.
posted by aaron at 1:20 PM on January 20, 2001

Thanks aaron. I don't know all of them, but I remember Mel Reynolds. Maybe they got laid together or something.
posted by thirteen at 1:33 PM on January 20, 2001

Why is it considered legitimate for Clinton to pardon his brother?

At least a plurality of constitutional scholars belive Clinton could legally have pardoned himself, though any attempt to do so would certainly have ended up being appealed to the Supreme Court.
posted by aaron at 2:41 PM on January 20, 2001

norm, even if it was "a grave misuse of presidential power", what are they going to do? Impeach him? Throw him out of office? It's not like he's criminally liable for something like that.
posted by smackfu at 4:56 PM on January 20, 2001

I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt here. Maybe he really think Peltier was guilty, after all. Then again, maybe Peltier didn't have anybody close to Clinton ot advocate for him.
posted by dhartung at 7:06 PM on January 20, 2001

Given the complexity of the issues surrounding the Peltier case, it would've been inappropriate to issue him a pardon -- he has been convicted of murdering two federal law enforcement agents, and there is still a question as to his guilt or innocence. To set him free without a fair hearing of the actual facts of the case (which has yet to occur) would have been a miscarriage of justice regardless. Peltier needs to "win" or "lose" on the actual merits of the case against him. Unfortunately, the president does not have the ability to unilaterally grant him a new trial, or I'm sure that it would've happened by now. It should worry everyone, however, that so many voices, much more powerful voices than those of Peltier's supporters, have arisen in opposition to a new trial. His hopes diminish with every passing day.
posted by Dreama at 12:06 AM on January 21, 2001

Dreama, I'm pretty much in agreement with you on this one; however, I think that if the President were to tell the Attourney General to not oppose a request by Peltier's council for a new trial, it'd be much more likely to happen.

The fact that the FBI was willing to mobilize in protest of the merest thought of Peltier receiving some sort of fair hearing bothers me no end, though. I understand that they feel that he killed one of their own, but I think that the FBI, like the military, should try to maintain as apolitical a stance as possible.
posted by snarkout at 2:54 PM on January 21, 2001

I imagine it's not much unlike the cops who rally together after one of their own is killed... solidarity of force and all. The FBI are just local cops on a federal level with more power. They've got partners just the same as local cops and the sentiments they share aren't much different.
posted by evixir at 9:10 PM on January 21, 2001

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