A PA criminal defense lawyer may describe a pardon as an act of clemency where an executive government official forgives a criminal offender and restores his or her civil rights. Presidential pardons usually happen during the holiday season, right before end of the year.
The Associated Press reported President Barack Obama granted his first presidential pardons to nine individuals convicted of criminal charges such as the destruction of coins, drug possession, and counterfeiting. The Justice Department reported Obama had received 551 petitions for pardoning during his presidency. He denied 131 petitions while 265 were closed without any action by the president.
A few of the crimes pardoned went as far back as occurring ten years ago. Others called for a just simple scolding, such as the case of a Pennsylvania man Ronald Lee Foster. Foster, a Beaver Falls local, was sentenced to a year of probation and a fine of $20 in 1963 for mutilating coins. Although the White House did not provide any additional information regarding the case, tampering with federal currency is considered a criminal act.
Some of those who were pardoned included Texas native Timothy James Gallagher, who was sentenced with three years of probation in 1982 for cocaine possession and conspiracy to distribute. Illinois resident Floretta Leavy was also pardoned. Leavy was sentenced to one year in prison and three years of parole in 1984 for drug offenses.
White House spokesperson Reid Cherlin said President Obama "was moved by the strength of the applicant's post-conviction efforts at atonement." To learn more about pardons and the process of criminal law, find a PA criminal defense lawyer who can provide you with the proper legal information you seek. For general information, visit the Related Resources links.
- Criminal Law: Pardons (FindLaw's LawBrain)
- Speak To A PA Criminal Defense Lawyer (FindLaw)
- How Clinton's Pardons May Affect Future Presidents' Pardon Power (FindLaw's Writ)