Since the recent ProPublica story cited here about the failure of the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Pardon Attorney to tell the White House key details of a commutation petition for Clarence Aaron, a first time drug offender serving three life sentences without parole, more than three dozen criminal justice, civil-rights and religious organizations have asked the Senate Judiciary Committee to investigate, and Reps. John Conyers (D-MI) and Robert Scott (D-VA) asked President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to review the case.
The advocacy group Families Against Mandatory Minimums held a forum last Friday in Washington, D.C., on “misconduct” in the pardon attorney’s office, featuring Pro Publica reporter Dafna Linzer and former pardon attorney staff member Sam Morison. At the event, FAMM reported, Morison said “The pardon attorney’s office says they look at every case carefully, but that’s not true. They are supposed to be a neutral arbiter. OPA is supposed to wear two hats – his client is the DOJ but he also works for the president. The pardon attorney is supposed to give fair, neutral advice to the president. That, in my opinion, has simply collapsed. That ethic no longer exists. The pardon attorney's office now only represents the prosecutorial function of the Justice Department. It has an agenda.”