This year, perhaps more than any other, we have a strong reminder of why we even have a pardon process to begin with. It is the ‘Mercy’ that was established as a corrective balance to ‘Justice’ gone wrong.
Among the various uses, it is helpful for putting right a justice system gone horribly wrong.
Just ask General Flynn how much a corrupted government can do to jack with your freedoms.
Past presidents have used this power in, shall we say, interesting ways.
Someone serving time for violations of the Espionage Act have been shown clemency that seemingly would not have been shown had it not been for that LGBT pedigree. People involved in violent action against the government or government officials — including a 1983 bombing that failed to kill the Republican senators it was targeting — were pardoned.
Heinous and violent offenders have been shown mercy by previous Presidents, political favors were exchanged in some instances, and every so often it’s simply a matter of tying up loose ends so that a divided nation can simply turn the page — see Richard Nixon.
History eventually will have it’s chance to evalate how good, bad or otherwise Trump’s own list of pardons are. But for the time being, here are the ones we know of.
First of all, the endless speculation that Trump would pre-emptively pardon himself, his family, and uncharged members of his inner-circle (like Guiliani) have come up empty, and are making the pearl-clutchers look silly in the process.
Speculation that Assange would be pardoned seems to have come up empty, too — but we won’t know for sure until noon. Some have claimed that a pardon for Assange would almost certainly have pushed some Republican Senators to join the impeachment bandwagon. At this point, it’s all speculation.
Joe Exotic, despite having his hopes up, has also come up empty.
Who HAS received a pardon? There are quite a few of them. The full list of pardons and commutations can be found here, but we saw a few familiar names, and a great many that were not so familiar.
To be sure, the latest list was heavily populated by more conventional candidates whose cases had been championed by criminal justice activists. One man who has spent nearly 24 years in prison on drug and weapons charges but had shown exemplary behavior behind bars had his sentence commuted, as did a former Marine sentenced in 2000 in connection with a cocaine conviction. –SFGate
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, and former staffer Steve Bannon were on that list, as were Elliott Broidy and Ken Kurson, among many others.
Wednesday’s list includes its share of high-profile defendants. Among them were rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black, both convicted in Florida on weapons charges. Wayne, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter, has frequently expressed support for Trump and recently met with the president on criminal justice issues. Others on the list included Death Row Records co-founder Michael Harris and New York art dealer and collector Hillel Nahmad.
Other pardon recipients include former Rep. Rick Renzi, an Arizona Republican who served three years for corruption, money laundering and other charges, and former Rep. Duke Cunningham of California, who was convicted of accepting $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors. Cunningham, who was released from prison in 2013, received a conditional pardon. –SFGate
It is, perhaps, important to note that there is no indication of clemency for anyone participants in what’s being dubbed the ‘Capitol Riot’ on January 6th.
The reason this is important is simple — if Trump were the great supporter and defender of the violence some critics portray him as being, there would theoretically be nothing to prevent him from doing so.
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