Daniel Freeman, 69, he was out of work and poverty was pressing in. Before his life ended, he wanted to clear his name of a 1963 conviction for a liquor-law felony, says the New York Times. He was among 29 people who were pardoned by President Bush on Tuesday. He did not find out until Wednesday afternoon, when a reporter reached him in Georgia and asked if he had a few moments to talk about it. Freeman was put on probation for a moonshine offense; four decades later, he had to close a pawn shop when federal agents told him he could not deal in guns because of the criminal record.
Presidential pardons are a year-end tradition. Since taking office in 2001, Bush has granted 142 pardons and commuted 5 sentences, the total of which averages out to about 1.7 per month, a lower rate than all modern American presidents except for his father. The first President Bush granted 74 pardons during his four years in office, an average of about 1.5 per month. The most prolific giver of pardons was Harry S. Truman, who granted 1,913 during his seven and a half years in office, an average of more than 20 per month. Felons can apply for clemency five years after their conviction and confinement, and pardons are granted based on “good conduct for a substantial period of time.”