We Want Pardons: Petition to Save Bush's Legacy by Persuading Him to Pardon Thousands of Nonviolent Drug Offenders

Don't just pardon turkeys, President Bush! We, the undersigned, ask you to save your legacy by releasing thousands of nonviolent drug offenders from federal prison before you leave office. Short of taking such a measure, you will be doomed to go down in history as a hypocrite. Unlike President Clinton, you cannot point to a record of mercy toward people caught in the criminal justice system. While the overall Clinton record in criminal justice was not lenient, he did commute the sentences of 63 people, most of them neither wealthy nor powerful, including 29 nonviolent drug offenders. You, by contrast, commuted only three prisoners' sentences prior to helping Scooter Libby, one every two years. You have pardoned four times as many Thanksgiving turkeys as people you've released from prison. Even worse, in 2003 your attorney general, John Ashcroft, issued guidelines requiring federal prosecutors to always seek the maximum possible amount of prison time for defendants, with only limited exceptions permitted. The measure we've called for will undoubtedly be controversial, but you will have defenders from across the political spectrum. Advocates will assist your staff in finding appropriate cases -- reopening cases you've previously rejected would give the project a good head start. Clemency petitions will undoubtedly start to pour in once you put the word out. You can answer critics by saying we need to redirect our resources toward national security instead. And it will be consistent with the sympathy you've expressed in the past, based on your personal experiences, for people who have struggled with substance abuse. In the nation that is the world's leading jailer, which incarcerates a far greater percentage of its population than any other nation yet calls itself "land of the free," the president who helps to reverse that pattern will ultimately be recognized for it. Indeed, the "tough-on-crime" laws that have led us to this situation were mainly enacted for political reasons. Please pardon or commute the sentences of thousands of nonviolent drug offenders; please rescind the aforementioned Ashcroft directive; renounce your support for the drug war (at least in its current form); and call on Congress to repeal mandatory minimum sentences and authorize downward revision of most federal sentencing guidelines. You have a year and a half left to prove that justice is for everyone -- not just for your friends. Will you rise to the occasion? History is watching.
Please click here to send a copy of this petition in your own name to President Bush, Vice-President Cheney, and your US Representative and Senators if you live in the US.
Location: 
Washington, DC
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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War on Words

An improvement idea:

I think we would get further if we used "non-violent" communication in our coorespondence to a politcal leader. Even though he may be what you call him, it's subjective to some and it's still war with words. Egos don't like being called hypocrites and pass over people that may need his attention.

Let's try better word choices and basically, write positive letters about substance abuse, disease and mental illness, which is what non violent drug offenders often are. We are humans, even the President.

We could stroke egos, not offend. Although I don't believe in Bush's way of leadership, I would still address him in the King's English and treat him with respect or no way would he ever listen to me.

Positive word choices open people up to discussion rather than anger and name calling. I understand we feel urgency and want justice here, but these are still war with words.

Please build into your sight a place where we can compose our own letters to the president, congress etc. and have a choice to use yours as well.

Good luck with such an important cause. :)

Deborah M
Seattle

Also myself

My name is Virgil D. Spears, and I am also a non violent-drug offender needing a pardon for two offences; one in Marion County, Oregon, and one in Humboldt county, California.I hope that someone can help me out.
P.s. Thank you for reading this.

Virgil D. Spears
631 sw Sheila st.
Dallas, OR. 97338

war on drugs

Dear President Bush:

We, the undersigned, ask you to save your legacy by releasing thousands of nonviolent drug offenders from federal prison before you leave office. Short of taking such a measure, you will be doomed to go down in history as a hypocrite.

Unlike President Clinton, you cannot point to a record of mercy toward people caught in the criminal justice system. While the overall Clinton record in criminal justice was not lenient, he did commute the sentences of 63 people, most of them neither wealthy nor powerful, including 29 nonviolent drug offenders.

You, by contrast, commuted only three prisoners' sentences prior to helping Scooter Libby, one every two years. You have pardoned four times as many Thanksgiving turkeys as people you've released from prison.

Even worse, in 2003 your attorney general, John Ashcroft, issued guidelines requiring federal prosecutors to always seek the maximum possible amount of prison time for defendants, with only limited exceptions permitted.

The measure we've called for will undoubtedly be controversial, but you will have defenders from across the political spectrum. Advocates will assist your staff in finding appropriate cases -- reopening cases you've previously rejected would give the project a good head start. Clemency petitions will undoubtedly start to pour in once you put the word out. You can answer critics by saying we need to redirect our resources toward national security instead. And it will be consistent with the sympathy you've expressed in the past, based on your personal experiences, for people who have struggled with substance abuse.

In the nation that is the world's leading jailer, which incarcerates a far greater percentage of its population than any other nation yet calls itself "land of the free," the president who helps to reverse that pattern will ultimately be recognized for it. Indeed, the "tough-on-crime" laws that have led us to this situation were mainly enacted for political reasons. Please pardon or commute the sentences of thousands of nonviolent drug offenders; please rescind the aforementioned Ashcroft directive; renounce your support for the drug war (at least in its current form); and call on Congress to repeal mandatory minimum sentences and authorize downward revision of most federal sentencing guidelines.

You have a year and a half left to prove that justice is for everyone -- not just for your friends. Will you rise to the occasion? History is watching.

Signed by:

Robby P.
434 normandy ave
placentia, ca. 92870

pardon our non-violent drug prisoners

I also was working on something to submit to bushin the form of a short video on you tube, the difference in mine, was to make the package more attractive to Mr. Bush and the 50 states is to offer to those willing to join their states national guard, reserves get full pardon and restoration of rights and privileges. the states get their military rolls filled most would stay stateside a few would need to go Iraq or Afghan, but to me I would jump at choice.

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