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As Long As Bush Is Commuting “Excessive” Sentences…(Update: Nevermind)

July 2, 2007

Bush got busy today playing politics with the justice system and decided to commute Scooter Libby’s prison sentence:

I respect the jury’s verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby’s sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison.

No doubt there will be plenty of debate over this over the next week.  I’m probably the 12,645th blogger to comment on it in the last hour alone, actually.  I realize that this was a politically motivated action, and I’m really not going to place as much blame on Bush as others would for this.  I mean, the guy has very little to lose at this point.  He kinda split the difference here, and maybe it’s better that way.  Let’s face it, he could have given Libby a full pardon without taking much more of a dent politically.

I’m commenting here because of Bush’s referral of Libby’s prison sentence as “excessive”.  That’s probably his opinion, and I’m not sure if that’s the opinion of the nation as a whole, but he’s the President.  But this word “excessive” reminded me of another convicted felon that has been featured here in the Chamber before: Genarlow Wilson

Here we have a kid that is 2 years into a 10-year sentence for receiving (consensual) oral sex from a 15-year-old when he was just 17.  You’d think this thing happens every day in America, but because of a legal loophole in the state where the act occurred, Mr. Wilson got the shaft.  Much has been made about Mr. Wilson’s case in the media, and it’s almost a universal opinion that the prison sentence in his case was most certainly excessive.

So…what say you Dubya?  Wanna bust Genarlow out while you’re at it?

Update:  Nevermind.  “Bush has denied more than 4,000 commutation requests, and hundreds of requests for pardons and commutations are still pending”  I’m guessing that Wilson’s was one of those requests. (hat tip: Think Progress)

Update:  OK I feel kinda stupid, as I probably should have brushed up on facts regarding clemency before posting this thread.  Thanks to fellow LGFer Darren.  From wiki:

The pardon power of the President extends only to offenses cognizable under U.S. Federal law. However, the governors of most states have the power to grant pardons or reprieves for offenses under state criminal law. In other states, that power is committed to an appointed agency or board, or to a board and the governor in some hybrid arrangement.

Since this is a stupid law in the state of Georgia, Bush has no power to grant this poor kid a commutation of his sentence. 

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14 comments

  1. Yea, I hate Bush!!

    Asher Heimermann
    http://asherheimermann.wordpress.com


  2. Excessive compared to what Bush deserved maybe.

    Bush got Libby to take the rap for crimes committed by the Bush administration then got him excused from the punishment.

    What a joke! Just like the rest of the Bush administration.


  3. Sorry people…although I would like to see this young man’s sentence commuted, George Bush has NO POWER to commute or pardon someone convicted of a STATE crime.

    Your blaming Bush, or COMPLAINT and/or request to pardon or commute the sentence of the young man is with the Governor of the State of Georgia NOT BUSH. The young man was convicted of a STATE crime NOT a Federal crime.

    Bush on this case can do nothing nor would this case ever come before him.

    Good try but NO CIGAR…


  4. Where was the outcry from some of you people who are now screaming “bloody murder” when Clinton on his last day did far worse in issuing 140 pardons…some pardons of some people doing far worse than Libby!

    Clinton issued 140 pardons on his last day of office (January 20, 2001). Some controversial pardons include the following:

    Carlos A. Vignali had his sentence for cocaine trafficking commuted, after serving 6 of 15 years in federal prison.

    Almon Glenn Braswell was pardoned of his mail fraud and perjury convictions, even while a federal investigation was underway regarding additional money laundering and tax evasion charges. Braswell and Carlos Vignali each paid approximately $200,000 to Hillary Clinton’s brother, Hugh Rodham, to represent their respective cases for clemency. Hugh Rodham returned the payments after they were disclosed to the public. Braswell would later invoke the Fifth Amendment at a Senate Committee hearing in 2001, when questioned about allegations of his having systematically defrauded senior citizens of millions of dollars.

    Marc Rich, a fugitive, was pardoned of tax evasion, after clemency pleas from Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, among many other international luminaries. Denise Rich, Marc’s former wife, was a close friend of the Clintons and had made substantial donations to both Clinton’s library and Hillary’s Senate campaign. Several months after her last donation, emails reveal Republican attorney “Scooter” Libby asked her to approach Clinton about pardoning Marc Rich. Clinton agreed to a pardon that required Marc Rich to pay a $100,000,000 fine before he could return to the United States. According to Paul Volcker’s independent investigation of Iraqi Oil-for-Food kickback schemes, Marc Rich was a middleman for several suspect Iraqi oil deals involving over 4 million barrels of oil.

    Susan McDougal, who had already completed her sentence, was pardoned for her role in the Whitewater scandal; McDougal had served 18 months on contempt charges for refusing to testify about Clinton’s role.

    Dan Rostenkowski, a former Democratic Congressman convicted in the Congressional Post Office Scandal. Rostenkowski had served his entire sentence.

    Melvin J. Reynolds, a Democratic Congressman from Illinois, who was convicted of bank fraud, 12 counts of sexual assault, obstruction of justice, and solicitation of child pornography had his sentence commuted on the bank fraud charged and was allowed to serve the final months under the auspices of a half way house. He had served his entire sentence on child sex abuse charges before the commutation of the later convictions.

    Roger Clinton, the president’s half-brother, on drug charges after having served the entire sentence more than a decade before. Roger Clinton would be charged with drunk driving and disorderly conduct in an unrelated incident within a year of the pardon.[14] He was also briefly alleged to have been utilized in lobbying for the Braswell pardon, among others.

    Some other controversial Pardons by Clinton:

    Edgar and Vonna Jo Gregory pardons

    In March 2000, Bill Clinton pardoned Edgar and Vonna Jo Gregory, owners of the carnival company United Shows International, for charges of bank fraud from a 1982 conviction (the couple were already out of jail, but the prior conviction prevented them from doing business transactions in certain states).

    FALN Pardons in 1999.

    On August 11, 1999, Clinton commuted the sentences of 16 members of FALN, a violent Puerto Rican nationalist group that set off 120 bombs in the United States

    Source: Wikipedia


  5. Darren-

    Sorry people…although I would like to see this young man’s sentence commuted, George Bush has NO POWER to commute or pardon someone convicted of a STATE crime.

    Are you sure about that?


  6. OK- I guess you’re right.


  7. Yes ChenZhen:

    As an attorney I am sure about that. Remember Wilson was convicted in State court…not Federal Court; therefore, you need to go to the Executive Branch of the State of Georia since the young man was convicted in Georgia state court.

    The head of the Executive Branch in Georgia is of course the Governor.


  8. Some states via their Constitutions proscribe that instead of the Governor having the power to pardon a person, such pardon either comes through a board of pardon and paroles under (within) the Executive branch or even through the legislative branch.

    Since I don’t live or practice in Georgia, I’m not completely up to speed on Georgia pardons, I do note that Georgia has a STATE BOARD OF PARDONS AND PAROLES whose members are appointed by the Governor. So perhaps instead of going directly to the Governor for seeking a pardon, a requested pardon would go through the board.


  9. Well I’m hoping the kid’s lawyer has explored every avenue, ’cause I’ve never heard of anything as ridiculous as that.


  10. I’m sure his lawyer has and is doing what he can for his client.

    Explaining it another way. The President can only pardon crimes committed AGAINST the United States. Wilson is not guilty of a crime against the United States, but a crime against the State of Georgia.

    There is a major difference.


  11. Libby was part of the White House program of lying the USA into the Iraq fisaco. I can not imagine anything worse than that.


  12. gasdocpol stated “Libby was part of the White House program of lying the USA into the Iraq fisaco. I can not imagine anything worse than that.”

    Only biased Bush haters think there is this “BIG LIE” that Bush is a part of. First, our intelligent agencies AND foreign intelligence agencies ALL thought Hussein had WMD’s. And remember Hussein at one time DID for he used them on his own people. Secondly, most of the Democrats saw ALL THE SAME intelligence agencies (domestic & foreign) reports and they ALL came to the same conclusion as Bush and the White House that Hussein had WMD’s. They could have disagreed with Bush, but they didn’t and even made public statements that Hussein had the weapons. People in the White House and Congress (Democrat & Republican) didn’t lie. Simply put they all were in “error”.

    Or were they?

    Remember Hussein did have WMD’s! Furthermore, there are reports from former Iraqi Generals and other sources (see one of the many links below) that Hussein DID HAVE WMD’s and prior to our invasion had the weapons secretly transported to Syria. Once in Syria they were then moved to where they are currently buried in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. Just because we did NOT find them does NOT mean that anyone lied or that they were NOT there at one time.

    See http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=38581

    If you hate Bush, then no matter what rationale or explanation you give them, they will STILL believe Bush lied for they are just so blinded with hate and truth does not matter to them.

    Perhaps history will one day prove that Bush and Congress were originally right that Hussein did have WMD’s just prior to the invasion. But even if that is not the case, Bush and/or Congress did not lie to us on the issue, they just had bad intelligence.


  13. I’ve had the WMD debate so many times I’ve grown tired of it. (Gasdaopol didn’t mention WMDs BTW)

    The fact that Bush commuted the sentence of a former member of his administration in and of itself reeks to high heaven. It’s pretty hard to deny that.


  14. Even if indeed Saddam had militarily significant WMDs, there is no way that Saddam was stupid AND crazy enough to use them against the USA.

    1. SADDAM HAD HIS ARMY DECIMATED IN DESERT STORM.

    2. THE USA SPENT MORE ON MILITARY THAN THE NEXT 12 COUNTRIES COMBINED.

    3. SADDAM COULD NOT EVEN INVADE TINY KUWAIT (WHICH WAS RIGHT NEXT DOOR) WITHOUT THE WHOLE WORLD, INCLUDING ARABS, TO RISE UP AS ONE TO THROW HIM OUT.

    Saddam was going to take on the USA? Get a life!

    No, my frend, there were other reasons why Iraq was invaded. Many of them are spelled out in the rambling words in the pages of PNAC which you should google sometime.



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