November 26, 2008
Pardon me?

Okay, look. This sort of thing doesn't bother me.

Daniel Pue is one of 14 people -- including two other Texans -- who received a pardon from the outgoing president on Monday.

Daniel Pue by no means will go down in the annals of high-profile pardons. It's not surprising why. His original crime? Transporting sludge.

He was convicted in 1996 on federal charges of illegal storage, disposal and transportation of a hazardous waste without a permit, according to court records. The waste was pentachlorophenol and creosote sludge. He was sentenced to three years' probation with six months' home detention on each charge. The sentences were to run concurrently. He was also fined $1,000.


After his sentence, Daniel Pue took seriously the advice of his parole officer who told him to closely follow the restrictions placed on him. His good behavior, she said, could one day make a good case for a pardon request.

He completed his six months' home confinement but never tried to pursue a pardon until his daughter, Karen Flint, decided to take action. As part of a college government class project, she wrote a letter to the president asking for a pardon for her father.

"We were challenged by our instructor to make a difference and write somebody in office," said Flint, 37. "Some students were writing about potholes. I had more important things on my mind. My dad was a top priority."

Flint mailed the letter in February 2003 and got a reply in May 2003 that included paperwork to apply for a pardon. Daniel Pue and his wife completed the application and mailed it. They received a reply about a month later seeking more information, he said.

The Pues didn't hear anything for another two years. Then one day, an FBI agent called about doing a pardon investigation, Daniel Pue said.

The agent interviewed Daniel Pue, his wife, family, neighbors and co-workers, and said the information would be sent to the pardon attorney for review. That was the last Daniel Pue heard about the pardon, until Monday.

I don't know that this guy, or any of the other pardon recipients from yesterday, is any more worthy of this peculiar quirk of our Constitution, but whatever. They're small potatoes, and they benefitted from some good fortune. I'm happy for them. I would not be at all happy if the same kind of good fortune were to be visited on these people.

With a backlog of applications piled up at the Justice Department, high-profile criminals and their well-connected lawyers increasingly are appealing directly to President Bush for special consideration on pardons and clemency, according to people involved in the process.

Among those seeking presidential action are former junk-bond salesman Michael Milken, who hired former solicitor general Theodore B. Olson, one of the nation's most prominent GOP lawyers, to plead his case for a pardon on 1980s-era securities fraud charges. Two politicians convicted of public corruption, former congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.) and four-term Louisiana governor Edwin W. Edwards (D), are asking Bush to shorten their prison terms.

Duke Cunningham and Edwin Edwards are the sort of people for whom Presidential pardons get a bad name. And that doesn't even begin to take into account the possibility of all kinds of preemptive pardons for the eight years of unchecked vandalism, destruction, and general lawlessness that has been the Bush regime. I'm not willing to call for the repeal of this Constitutional power the President has, but I think the suggestions in the first comment hits the high points of where changes for the better could be made: No lame-duck pardons, no pardons of Executive branch officials without Congressional approval, and no preemptive pardons. What do you think? WaPo link via Steve Benen.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 26, 2008 to National news
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