President Obama has granted the first pardons of his presidency, to nine people convicted of crimes including possessing drugs, counterfeiting, and mutilating coins, the Associated Press reports. No one well-known was on the list. Some of the crimes dated back decades or had drawn little more than a slap on the wrist, such as a Pennsylvania man sentenced in 1963 to probation and a $20 fine for mutilating coins. The mutilation of coins occurred when a young Marine made dimes out of pennies to use the coins in vending machines.
The White House did not say why these particular people were selected by a president who previously had only pardoned Thanksgiving turkeys. Obama has received 551 pardon petitions during of which he’s denied 131, says the Justice Department. Another 265 petitions were closed without presidential action.