Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Stingy Bush pardons more often favor Texans

President Bush issued 14 pardons yesterday, including for three Texans, and commuted two more sentences on drug convictions. That makes him the stingiest among modern Presidents regarding clemency. At 171 total, he's pardoned less than half the number of people as Bill Clinton during his two terms, with a disproportionate number of those coming from Texas.

The Houston Chronicle profiled one of the Texans' pardoned: Daniel Pue, convicted of a felony for illegal dumping of sludge in a ditch in East Texas. The pardon of Fort Worth's Brenda Jean Dolenz-Helmer was for a relatively minor offense- covering up for her father when he was accused of a crime.

The third case may wind up having some Bush family conntections: William Hoyle McCright, Jr., was convicted of bank fraud when he served as executive vice president of the First National Bank of Midland from 1978-1982. (Looking for connections via a quick Google search I found that one of McCright's trial attorneys William Monroe Kerr was President of the Midland Rotarians when then-oil-executive George W. Bush came from Houston to speak to the group in 1969; his other attorney, Ted Kerr, also attended that event.) McCright's crime was failing to disclose his involvement with an oil business for which he approved millions in bank loans, but the octogenarian insisted to the Midland Reporter Telegram after the pardon was announced, "I didn't do anything." Not exactly an example of contrition, huh?

The only well known name among yesterday's clemency announcements, oddly, was hip hop artist John Forte, a Californian who was convicted in Texas on federal drug trafficking charges but has always maintained his innocence - his was one of the two commutations. A rapper? Were there no country and western singers in need of official forgiveness?

Bush could and probably will pardon more people before he leaves offices. See Pardon Power's Watch List of pending clemency petitions, and additional blog coverage of the latest Bush pardons and commutations at Pardon Power, TalkLeft, the Lone Star Times, Capitol Annex, and The Volokh Conspiracy.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Where is the pardon for the two Border Patrol Agents who shot the drug dealer, who if the reports were correct,also had a gun? These men do not deserve to be in prison for doing their jobs.

This drug dealer has been caught bringing drugs over the border and still the Agents who were doing their job are in prison!! What in the world is wrong with this picture? President Bush should be doing something right for a change and let these men go home to their families. There has been enough hurt done to the men and their families and it is time to turn them lose. Why would anyone want to guard the Border, when you take a chance of going to prison should you do your job right??

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