In a departure from recent presidential clemency grants, President Joe Biden issued three presidential pardons and commuted the sentences of 75 others, but not one of them had a previous position in the White House, played a role in the Biden campaign, nor did any of them have a business relationship with someone in the White House.
As NPR reports, Biden granted pardons to three individuals. The entire clemency list can be found here.
- Abraham W. Bolden, Sr., of Chicago an 86-year-old former U.S. Secret Service agent and was the first African American to serve on a presidential detail. In 1964, Mr. Bolden was charged with offenses related to attempting to sell a copy of a Secret Service file; his first trial ended with a hung jury, but he was convicted in a second. Afterwards, key witnesses claimed they were told to lie on the stand by the prosecutor.
- Betty Jo Bogans is a 51-year-old Houston woman who was convicted in 1998 of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine in Texas after attempting to transport drugs for her boyfriend and his accomplice, neither of whom were detained or arrested. Bogans received a seven year prison sentence, a higher than typical sentence for such an offense for a first-time offender.
- Dexter Jackson of Athens, Georgia, a 52-year-old man who was convicted in 2002 for using his business, a pool hall, to facilitate the distribution of marijuana in the Georgia. Jackson was not personally involved in trafficking marijuana, but allowed marijuana distributors to use his pool hall to facilitate drug transactions.
All of the 72 commutations were for non-violent offenders who received unusually long prison sentences, mandated by minimum sentencing guidelines at the time of their convictions, but which have since been radically reduced.
Donald Trump’s first pardon was to political ally Joe Arpaio, the disgraced former sheriff of Maricopa County, AZ, who was convicted of contempt of court for refusing to following court orders regarding the treatment of people in custody. Trump also pardoned him for any potential charges related to the same behavior.
Trump’s second pardon was for a Navy sailor convicted of taking photographs of classified areas and equipment aboard a nuclear submarine and posting them on social media. The sailor, Kristian Mark Saucier, appealed to Trump for clemency claiming (not a joke) that Hillary Clinton was prosecuted for having classified documents on her computer, so he should not have been charged.