Monday, December 28, 2009

Governor's Christmas pardons an odd mix, short list

Having earlier mentioned Gov. Rick Perry's relative historical indifference to clemency petitions, I should point out that the Governor issued eight Christmastime pardons this year granting clemency to:
  • Cory Gibson Brazeal, 31, of Fort Worth, was convicted in 1998 of resisting arrest at the age of 19. He received 30 days in jail which was probated for one year, and paid a $100 fine. He is granted a full pardon.
  • Natalie Ann Dukate, 33, of Dallas, was convicted of possession of marijuana in 1996 at the age of 20 and in 1997 at the age of 21. She received three days in jail and paid a $1,500 fine for the first offense, and 180 days in jail which was probated for 180 days, and paid a $300 fine for the second offense. She is granted a full pardon.
  • Dan Warren Luper, 52, of Burleson, was convicted of burglary of a motor vehicle in 1975 at the age of 18. He paid a $1,000 fine. He is granted a full pardon.
  • Sheena Nichole McCloud, 24, of Killeen, was convicted of theft by check in 2002 at the age of 17. She received 180 days in jail, and paid a $100 fine and $106.32 restitution. She is granted a full pardon.
  • Victor August Moeller Jr., 49, of Moulton, was convicted of driving while intoxicated in 1977 at the age of 17 and evading arrest in 1985 at the age of 25. He received 30 days in jail, which was probated for six months and paid a $100 fine for the first offense, and paid a $273.50 fine for the second offense. He is granted a full pardon.
  • Maria Luisa Ramirez, 50, of Lyford, was convicted of theft in 1983 at the age of 23, and driving while intoxicated in 1986 at the age of 26. She paid a $100 fine for the first offense, and received 30 days in jail which was probated for one year and paid a $200 fine for the second offense. She is granted a full pardon.
  • Royce Dean Richardson, 68, of Whitewright, was convicted of burglary in 1960 at the age of 20. He received three years probation. He is granted a full pardon and restoration of firearm rights.
  • Desire Maraw Taylor, 29, of Belton, was convicted of assault with bodily injury in 2000 at the age of 22. She received three days in jail and paid a $350 fine. She is granted a full pardon.
Just like Perry's previous pardons, this list makes me wonder why these particular folks received clemency for relatively common, low-level offenses when thousands of similarly situated people did not? Cynics may answer, "political connections," but a quick Google of the eight names revealed no obvious links to big donors, powerful interests or political activists. (If you know something I don't on that score, btw, please enlighten us in the comments.)

In particular, this is the second year in a row that a single, petty pot offender has made Perry's Christmas pardon list, but hundreds of thousands of Texans have been convicted of that crime. I'm happy for Ms. Dukate that she received her pardon, but why shouldn't others receive equal consideration? Perhaps petty drug offenders would make a good candidate for the sort of mass clemency recently advocated by bioethicist Jacob Appel on The Huffington Post.

Another interesting thing to note here is the length of time passed since the offenses Perry pardoned. Some follow the time-honored pattern of pardoning older folks for offenses committed in their youth. But two of those pardoned - McCloud and Taylor - are just seven years removed from the crimes that got them in trouble. Ms. Dukate's offenses were only 12 years in the past. I'm glad to see it, but it makes me doubly wonder why more people aren't eligible for clemency if the Governor feels comfortable pardoning these women just seven years after their offenses?

I wonder how many folks we'd be talking about if the Governor were to issue clemency for every low-level pot offender who spent seven years or more after their offense without recidivating? I don't expect Rick Perry to take such a bold step, but this year's Christmas pardons raise those questions, however unlikely such actions might seem given the Governor's past pardon record.


sunray's wench said...

Can someone tell me exactly what benefit these people will get from having their conviction and sentence pardoned please? I can see that the restoration of firearms rights would be a benefit, but the rest of it is passing me by at the moment.

Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

To take politics or political contributions out of Pardons they should be automatically done after 10 years with full rights restored. A Full Pardon Policy of this nature would allow incentive for convicted felons to keep within the law and reduce wasted tax dollars. Tax payers would save by lowering the number of people who are civilly dead and excluded from many types of employment or education. When we create a class of outcasts – outlaws then we program the group to failure which will cost society tax dollars and higher crime.

Anonymous said...

Sunray - A conviction affects employment, education, ability to rent property, credit scores, fire arm ownership, professional licensing, school loans, loss of the right to have a business license or act as a board member or executive officer, run for office, be bonded, be a notary, teach school, work for a school system, drive a school bus, work for state government, and voting rights in several states. A Full Pardon allows one to petition the court to expunge their criminal record restoring them to full rights of citizenship (Texas).

sunray's wench said...

anon 12.36 ~ thanks. But these people were all found guilty of the crimes. Why not do something meaningful and tackle the prejudices that you list, instead of just randomly (doesn't seem to have any logic to it at all) picking a handful of people each year for pardons? I swear I will never understand Perry.

Anonymous said...

Sunray - That's why My prior post was about automatic Full Pardons based on performance over time.

Anonymous said...

Will Perry also give pre-pardons to the TYC leadership that allowed for and covered up the youth sexual abuse by TYC administrators across the state? Shouldn't the top ex-leadership be held accountable?

Anonymous said...

Now that we are discussing pardons - why the hell is TYC still open. Will those sex offenders as well as the top level management that didn't do anything to stop this behavior will pardoned? I see quite a few still in CO with top paying jobs.

One that did speak out was in accounting, needless to say that person no longer is there.

Anonymous said...

Since the thread has shifted to pardons and TYC, I find it interesting current TYC policy bars anyone with a Full Pardon from employment at TYC. The legal definition of a Full Pardon is that it removes “all” disabilities of a conviction.
Sixty-six people with criminal records were fired by Jay Kimbrough from TYC even though no connection was ever shown between them and the sexual misconduct. Some of them even have Clemency in their criminal records. Now we have the never ending delays in the criminal prosecution of the few people arrested within TYC and no charges for those who covered up the scandal.
I wonder what has become of the sixty-six people fired from TYC due to criminal records. Why were the real issues at TYC ignored while unrelated headline grabbers like felons working at TYC perused? Government is very good at taking the focus off of real problems or hot topics so business as usual can continue without the citizens demanding results that align with the desires of the citizens. In my opinion, the sixty-six people fired from TYC due to their known criminal histories, were merely cannon fodder for the need to distract the people of Texas away from the core issues of TYC.
All this said, I believe the TYC story has run its course and is forgotten by most. It means little, perhaps nothing, to most about the people fired for no good reason or the current condition of TYC. In fact I doubt the issues of TYC were of any big concern to the vast majority of the people of Texas while it was a headline story. TYC is a story that will only live on in the minds of those directly affected in some way.
For the sake of those caught up in the collateral damage of TYC it is time to move on with your life. You are powerless to change the past. Don’t let the actions of people like Rick Perry and his handy-man Jay Kimbrough dictate the rest of your life. To all of you damaged by the TYC implosion, it is a new year so move on and put the bad experience behind you. No good will come from harboring the hate and betrayal you feel.
An election is coming in the New Year so use your right to vote and campaign for a different set of players in Austin.

Have a Happy New Year

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Great point about fired TYCers with pardons, FTM. I know of at least one in that situation. I'm kinda surprised that wasn't litigated. Those would have been (perhaps still would be) great test cases. Those firings were clearly just flat-out wrong - they were the thing that first focused this blog's attention on TYC in a serious way.

Anonymous said...

Those top level managers that knew about the sex abuses and more should still be held accountable. More coverup was initiated by the mass firings of people not even involved in the scandal. Someone needs to keep this alive with the public so the whole affair can be cleaned up and then forgotten.

Thomas R. Griffith said...

Hey Grits, thanks for this info.

If anyone has the answers to this mystery, thanks in advance. Kind of long but it's a frigin real life mystery dealing with the elusive pardon and those charged with mailing out packets, analyzing & researching request and preparing clemency files for consideration.

I applied for full pardon in 1999. They asked me what kind I wanted? I told them that I’ve purchased an HPD police report-showing dets. confronting robbery victim about suspect’s original description including straight black hair, black skin and no mustache. Despite this they charged. Note: My 1984 D.L., shows me having wavy brown hair, white skin and a mustache and it still does to this day. The mugshot even shows it.

I told them the case file shows ADA (Casey O'Brien - aka: jigmeister) created 2 State's Exhibits docs. with a total of 3 number 2s. The 1984 handwritten doc. lists a .38 cal Rohm revolver as #2. The 1991 typed up doc., lists the Judgment as #2 and Photo of Gun as 2-A. They told me that they were putting me in for a pardon based on innocence and a regular pardon, just in case.

I was excited that they showed an interest. I followed the rules and requested a letter of Recommendation from the trial officials and within two weeks received a denial letter from the new judge in 263rd. I wrote and asked one of my attorneys (Daniel Jackson) about the “Mystery Gun”, he replied with a letter of rec. “based on facts in the case” and that he didn’t keep records past three yrs.. 4 months after applying I was denied. I called to ask if it covered both pardons? They said you only applied for the reg. pardon and told me to wait one year to re-apply. (My notes and copies of the app. show two, and that I called and told my mother). A little over a year later, I applied again (Full Pardon only) and was denied. I chose to never apply again.

Last month, I went to the Harris Co. District Clerk's off. website and found out that my first attempt was duly recorded but the second attempt isn't. What the F---? It appears the second attempt never happened. Anyone have a clue how to find out if my second attempt was truly considered? Who knows, you could be the one that solves the mystery.

*This year, I confronted O'Brien on Simple Justice (Plea Bargaining 201) only to rec. a patent disclaimer, Duh "I'm sorry if you feel you've been wronged by the system", "I can't remember". But if you google him, you can see he remembers case law enough to help out in Blawgs. I offered to send him the info. & he crawled under his desk and hasn't replied since. BTW, the info. shows two deputies, four detectives, their supervisors, two hired attorneys, one ADA, two court reporters, an exhibit clerk and a judge played open rolls in securing a false arrest and wrongful conviction. Complete with gross eyewitness descrepentcies, a planted firearm (that was personally destroyed by the Exhibit clerk) and the coerced no contest plea to a crime everyone knew the defendant was not guilty of in any way, to no degree. Thanks.

The Team said...

Anon. 12:27:00 PM,
You my friend, just might be on to something. Consider sharing more here and with the Team.

We don't just "BLOGABOUTIT", we look for solutions to state sponsored systematic ignorance. We can't leave this up to the voters or the ones too stupid to evade jury duty, it will take a revolt.

*There are no engraved invitations to the revolution.

sunray's wench said...

Thomas ~ sounds like the same people who work on the Interstate Compacts.

Are there no investigative journalists you can approach about it? If it happened to you, then I would assume you are not the only one.

Good luck.

Thomas R. Griffith said...

Thanks Sunray, you always ask logical questions and even take time to assist the confused.

Re: journalist, A former Houston Chronicle reporter had me fax everything to him in 2003ish. But he wrote a Book that ended up a movie and fell off the grid. A Dallas Morning News reporter replied saying 1984 was too long ago to write about. I guess she didn't read the part about the two pardon attempts in 1999 & 2002.

Oh well, I'll keep trying and again thanks for the hint.