Newsbrief: The Complete List of President Bush's Drug War Prisoner Pardons 12/26/03

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American presidents have traditionally used the Christmas holiday season to hand out the gift of freedom to a few unfortunates locked up behind bars. The presidential power to grant pardons is unfettered, despite cries of special favors directed at President Clinton for his pardons of a handful of well-connected non-drug offenders. Clinton also used his pardon power to free some drug offenders, and previous presidents have used the power to free other convicted criminals.

George Bush pardons turkeys but not humans
According to a Christmas Eve report in the Wall Street Journal, Bush had issued only 11 pardons as of September 30, leaving him ahead of only Presidents William Henry Harrison and James Garfield, both of whom died shortly after taking office. At the same points in their presidencies, other recent presidents were far ahead of Bush's pace: Clinton had issued 56 pardons; Bush, Sr., 39; Reagan, 181; Carter, 319; Ford, 404; Nixon; 522; Johnson, 925; Kennedy, 391; and way back at the beginning of the modern drug war era, Eisenhower, 132.

Bush's pardons have been for "very safe cases," the Journal reported, including a man who got probation in 1962 for making moonshine, a minister sentenced to two years in 1957 for not reporting for his military induction, and a 1971 case where a postal worker served one year for stealing $10.90 from the mail. Bush was also stingy with pardons as governor: He pardoned fewer people than any Texas governor since the 1940s. But one of those he did pardon, an unpaid constable convicted on a marijuana charge, went on to get caught stealing cocaine in a drug raid.

Bush apparently cannot get over the errant constable. He pardons two turkeys every Thanksgiving (, but is content to let hundreds of thousands of nonviolent drug offenders continue to rot in prison. The complete list of the Bush drug prisoner pardons follows:


The end. That's right: Nobody. Merry Christmas, Mr. President.

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Issue #317, 12/26/03 Message from the Executive Director: Another Year at DRCNet and in Drug Policy Reform | Canadian Supreme Court Upholds Marijuana Law -- Cannabis Battle Heads Back to Parliament | The New Jersey Weedman is Back! Forchion Announces House Bid Before Arrest at Liberty Bell Pot-Smoking Religious Demo | Newsbrief: The Complete List of President Bush's Drug War Prisoner Pardons | Newsbrief: Return of the Undead, Part I -- "B-1 Bob" Dornan to Challenge Rohrabacher in House Race, Attacks Medical Marijuana | Newsbrief: Return of the Undead, Part II -- Arch-Drug Warrior McCollum Seeks Florida GOP Senate Nod | Newsbrief: Prohibition-Terror Link? | Newsbrief: Cable Giant Censors Medical Marijuana Issue Ads in New Hampshire | Newsbrief: Todd McCormick Released from Federal Prison | Newsbrief: Why Don't People Seek Treatment? | Popular Television News and Drama Programs to Discuss Mandatory Minimum Sentencing in January | BUSTED: New and Improved Video Offer from DRCNet | DRCNet Temporarily Suspending Our Web-Based Write-to-Congress Service Due to Funding Shortfalls -- Your Help Can Bring It Back -- Keep Contacting Congress in the Meantime | Perry Fund Accepting Applications for 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 School Years, Providing Scholarships for Students Losing Aid Because of Drug Convictions | The Reformer's Calendar

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