A question that neither party’s presidential candidates have been asked in any of the debates

Having watched multiple presidential debates, conducted by different news organizations, that have included candidates of both parties for the past few weeks, one question that they have not been asked is one in which the next president actually has the power to deliver on. While we are not governed by a king or dictator, there is one Executive power available to every US president. The power to grant Pardons to convicted criminals. The Constitution gives presidents the “power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.”

Question: “If you are elected president, and President George W. Bush fails to grant pardons to border patrol agents Campion and Ramos, would you commit to granting both of them a pardon on your first day in office?”

This action does not require approval from any other Branch of our government. The immigration issue is surely one of the top five issues in the 2008 election. It is rather troubling when reviewing pardons as to why this topic is like the “third rail” on a New York subway.

I did find an article which confirms that President George W. Bush has already granted Pardons to 113 individuals. Following is a listing of four drug offenders Pardoned on his watch.

Adam Wade Graham, Salt Lake City, Utah
Offense: Conspiracy to deliver 10 or more grams of LSD; 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1), 841(b)(1)(A)(v), and 846.
Sentence: Nov. 23, 1992; District of Wyoming; 30 months imprisonment, later reduced to 11 months and 21 days of imprisonment, and five years supervised release conditioned upon performance of 250 hours community service.

Larry Paul Lenius, Moorhead, Minn.
Offense: Conspiracy to distribute cocaine; 21 U.S.C. 846.
Sentence: Sept. 29, 1989, District of North Dakota; 36 months probation conditioned upon three months service in community confinement and payment of $2,500 in restitution.

Larry Lee Lopez, Bokeelia, Fla. Offense: Conspiracy to import marijuana; 21 U.S.C. 952 and 953.
Sentence: July 19, 1985; Middle District of Florida; three years probation.

Mark Lewis Weber, Sherwood, Ark. Offense: Selling Quaalude tablets (one specification), selling, using, and possessing marijuana (three specifications), U.C.M.J., Articles 92 and 134.
Sentence: Aug. 20, 1981; United States Air Force general court-martial convened at Little Rock Air Force Base, Little Rock, Arkansas; 30 months confinement at hard labor, forfeiture of $334 pay per month for 30 months, reduction to the rank of airman basic, and a dishonorable discharge.

“By comparison, his father, former President George H.W. Bush, granted 74 in four years; former President Bill Clinton granted 396 in eight years; former President Ronald Reagan did 393 in eight; former President Jimmy Carter did 534 in four. And former President Richard Nixon, who got one of Mr. Ford’s 382 pardons, granted 863, reports Mark Knoller CBS News.”

Following is a partial list of Pardons granted by recent presidents. I will skip the pardon of a ceremonial turkey on Thanksgiving as this is a serious question for everyone in this country. I have selected those who were convicted of much more serious offenses for illustration purposes only and deleted most of the “white collar” criminals.

Pardon Granted by President Clinton January 2001 (Partial list)

Name Home Town Offenses

ALTIERE, Nicholas M. Las Vegas, Nevada Importation of cocaine

BAGLEY, Chris Harmon Harrah, Oklahoma Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine

BANE, Scott Lynn Mahomet, Illinois Unlawful distribution of marijuana

BLAMPIED, David Roscoe Ketchum, Idaho Conspiracy to distribute cocaine

BORDERS, William Arthur, Jr. Washington, D.C. Conspiracy to corruptly solicit and accept money in return for influencing the official acts of a federal district court judge (Alcee L. Hastings), and to defraud the United States in connection with the performance of lawful government functions; corruptly influencing, obstructing, impeding and endeavoring to influence, obstruct and impede the due administration of justice, and aiding and abetting therein; traveling interstate with intent to commit bribery

CHAMBERS, Donna Denise Memphis, Tennessee Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, use of a telephone to facilitate cocaine conspiracy

CHAVEZ, Francisco Larios Santa Ana, California Aiding and abetting illegal entry of aliens

CUNNINGHAM, Rickey Lee Amarillo, Texas Possession with intent to distribute marijuana

FERNANDEZ, Marcos Arcenio Miami, Florida Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana

HAMNER, Robert Ivey Searcy, Arkansas Conspiracy to distribute marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute

HARMON, Jay Houston Jonesboro, Arkansas 1. Conspiracy to import marijuana, conspiracy to possess marijuana with intent to distribute, importation of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute 2. Conspiracy to import cocaine

HUCKLEBERRY, Debi Rae Ogden, Utah Distribution of methamphetamine

LOPEZ, Hildebrando San Isidro, Texas Distribution of cocaine

MANESS, James Timothy Conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance

McDOUGAL, Susan H.

MORGAN, Charles Wilfred, III Little Rock, Arkansas Conspiracy to distribute cocaine

NOSENKO, Charlene Ann Phoenix, Arizona Conspiracy to defraud the United States, and influencing or injuring an officer or juror generally

OBERMEIER, Vernon Raymond Belleville, Illinois Conspiracy to distribute cocaine, distribution of cocaine, and using a communications facility to facilitate distribution of cocaine

OGALDE, Miguelina Glendale, California Conspiracy to import cocaine

RICH, Marc Switzerland

RILEY, Richard Wilson, Jr. Possession of cocaine with intent to distribute

ROGERS, Michael James McAllen, Texas Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana

ROSS, Anna Louise Lubbock, Texas Distribution of cocaine

RUTHERFORD, Bettye June Albuquerque, New Mexico Possession of marijuana with intent to distribute

SANDS, Gregory Lee Sioux Falls, South Dakota Conspiracy to distribute cocaine

SCHWIMMER, Adolph Conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States, conspiracy to export arms and ammunition to a foreign country and related charges

SERETTI, Albert A., Jr. McKees Rocks, Pennyslvania Conspiracy and wire fraud
SHAW, Patricia Campbell Hearst Wilton, Connecticut Armed bank robbery and using a firearm during a felony

SMITH, Gerald Owen Florence, Mississippi Armed bank robbery

STEWART-ROLLINS, Marlena Francisca Euclid, Ohio Conspiracy to distribute cocaine

SYMINGTON, John Fife, III

VAMVOUKLIS, Ignatious Exeter, New Hampshire Possession of cocaine

WILLIAMS, Jack L. Making false statements to federal agents

WILLIAMS, Kevin Arthur Omaha, Nebraska Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine

WOOD, Mitchell Couey Sherwood, Arkansas Conspiracy to possess and to distribute cocaine

An example of George Bush 41 pardons includes:

On December 24, 1992, President Bush pardoned former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, former assistant secretary for inter-American affairs Elliott Abrams, former national security adviser Robert McFarlane, and former CIA employees Duane Clarridge, Alan Fiers, and Clair George “for their conduct related to the Iran-Contra affair.”

George Bush 41 1993 Aslam P. Adam Heroin trafficking

Should border patrol agents Campion and Ramos receive Pardon’s as a Christmas present from our “compassionate conservative” president (whom I voted for.)???

Perhaps there are readers who feel that they do not deserve a Pardon under any circumstances. If so, I would like to hear from you.


About Larry Gilbert