President Trump granted a pardon to Pat Nolan, director of the American Conservative Union Foundation’s Center for Criminal Justice Reform. Nolan had served a prison term for accepting illegal campaign contributions. Trump also pardoned former newspaper mogul Conrad Black.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam is weighing whether to grant clemency to Cyntoia Brown, a Nashville woman serving a life sentence in prison for a murder she committed at 16. Brown’s advocates say the sentence was too harsh and that she was a sex-trafficking victim.
With only four more months in office, Gov. Jerry Brown commuted the life sentences of 20 murderers, and he has handed out more than 1,100 pardons benefiting a wide array of individuals. He says there has been an “overshoot” in the time many people expect criminals to be locked up.
So says one of his personal lawyers, Rudolph Giuliani. The president has discussed the possibility of pardoning the recently convicted former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who faces a second trial next month.
President Obama’s push to grant clemency to thousands of inmates convicted of drug offenses was hamstrung by a lack of planning and may not have reviewed petitions consistently, said the Department of Justice Inspector General. Obama ended up commuting a record-setting 1,696 sentences.
Term-limited Gov. Bill Haslam says he will issue several pardons before he leaves office next year. Advocates are pressing the governor to spare Billy Ray Irick from the death penalty and Cyntoia Brown in a widely-publicized murder.
“Everyone’s now trying to get their names out there, to get some buzz,” says Weldon Angelos, who is seeking a pardon from President Trump on a drug charge. Even as laws have grown harsher, the number of pardons has dwindled significantly.
Advocates for prisoners have offered the White House the names of dozens of people they say deserve clemency. The White House reached out for suggestions after President Trump said he “would get more thrill out of pardoning people that nobody knows.”
President Trump has become fixated on his ability to issue pardons, asking his aides to compile a list of candidates and stirring dissent in the West Wing with his seemingly celebrity-driven decisions. On Wednesday, he commuted the life prison term of Alice Marie Johnson, as Kim Kardashian and Jared Kushner advocated.