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Presidential pardons - I don't understand

(30 Posts)
StealthPolarBear Wed 20-Jan-21 07:23:51

I realise this is something that all outgoing presidents do, but this is the first time I've heard of it.
How on earth can this be valid, how does this sit with a (presumably overtly) fair and impartial justice system?
Why does anyone think it's a good thing that someone in a position of power can essentially pick his favourite criminals, and let them off? What reasons do presidents usually use in selecting those to pardon?

OP’s posts: |
StealthPolarBear Wed 20-Jan-21 07:24:49

And would there be a backlash if he were to choose someone like America's equivalent of Peter Sutcliffe or Jimmy Saville (I realise they're both dead)
What if someone he pardons goes on t commit other crimes?

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DonLewis Wed 20-Jan-21 07:26:15

I don't know, but apparently Joe Exotic was so confident of a pardon, he has a limousine waiting for him half a mile from the prison. I haven't heard if he was actually pardoned.

custardbear Wed 20-Jan-21 07:29:00

I don't know much about the reasons they're allowed to do it, but recall something about that it was set up for a different reason than it's being now used, and it's not used in the spirit in which it's intended - hopefully someone more knowledgable on this subject will explain ....

BelfastBloke Wed 20-Jan-21 07:29:52

Joe Exotic was not pardoned.

It seems of dubious legality to me too, but I did read a convincing article about why the Founding Fathers felt pardon power was necessary to include. Along the grounds of, there will always be miscarriages of justice, and so the calm and measured person sitting in the White House could be a release valve against resentment of the system. Or something.

Bluegrass Wed 20-Jan-21 07:30:21

I don’t understand how you can pardon someone who denies their guilt and hasn’t yet been found guilty at trial?

A pardon requires that the person be guilty, otherwise it is meaningless, so how can it work when guilt isn’t accepted or proven? Utterly baffling.

HoneysuckIejasmine Wed 20-Jan-21 07:31:33

Supposedly it's for cases of injustice, and pardon requests are supposed to be vetted by professionals who can show problems with their convictions that mean they may have been wrongfully convicted.

Or it might be in cases where the law has since changed, like the pardoning of draft dodgers (Vietnam war) years later.

I think Clinton did a few dodgy pardons, but noone before has effectively been offering pardons for cash. $2 million, I heard.

DonLewis Wed 20-Jan-21 07:31:46

Oh, so he will have to wait for his haircut then?

StealthPolarBear Wed 20-Jan-21 07:33:59

Thank you all. Good to hear it does go through some sort of process.
I get the issue about the law changing, didn't we pardon a load of gay men who were charged with being gay back when that was a crime, and I totally agree that sort of thing is right. But we didn't need to wait until a particular day on a particular year!

OP’s posts: |
Kez200 Wed 20-Jan-21 07:36:43

Pretty sure it was supposed to be for showing mercy.

I think the Ford Nixon approach was a lazy one done to achieve an aim at the time but it shows how laying down a precedent matters. And that, in turn, shows why the new impeachment has to been investigated properly by the Senate even though things have moved on.

Hels20 Wed 20-Jan-21 07:37:35

He pardoned the father of his son in law. That’s Trump for you!!

Why he couldn’t have done something about Lisa Montgomery or others more deserving (her sentence should have been commuted) is anyone’s guess.

Can’t wait for Biden to come in and do something about the death penalty.

Respectabitch Wed 20-Jan-21 07:47:18

As I understand it, the idea was/is that a lame duck president is uniquely free of political pressure, as if he's a two term president his career in public politics is over, and so he/she could use that lack of pressure to address genuine or very likely miscarriages of justice. Trump is arguably abusing it, but there is blocker to him doing so, I don't think, except precedent, tradition, and basic human decency, all of which he is a stranger to.

Respectabitch Wed 20-Jan-21 07:48:13

*is NO blocker

Thepilotlightsgoneout Wed 20-Jan-21 07:51:12

An American tradition that probably had noble beginnings but has become corrupted over the years. But as with anything to do with the Constitution/the founding fathers, they won’t hear of changing it even though it was written over 200 years ago and the world has changed.

BorderlineHappy Wed 20-Jan-21 07:52:32

Lisa Montgomery killed a pregnant women and cut her child from the womb.

No way should she have been pardoned or have her sentence commuted to life in prison.

TriflePudding Wed 20-Jan-21 07:56:47

Lisa Montgomery was a damaged women who suffered sexual assault and abuse as a child and had many mental health problems.

What she did was without doubt a dreadful crime, but she should have been in a psychiatric facility not killed by the state.

OnlyFoolsAndFuckers Wed 20-Jan-21 08:01:13

But as with anything to do with the Constitution/the founding fathers, they won’t hear of changing it even though it was written over 200 years ago and the world has changed.

Well that’s not strictly true, there have been 27 amendments to the Constitution to date so change is possible.

Frownette Wed 20-Jan-21 08:01:55

Her entire life was spent in pain so although I don't believe in the death penalty I do think she will never know more misery.

Has anyone got a list of the pardons?

Morgan12 Wed 20-Jan-21 08:21:23

The US justice system is not fair or impartial whatsoever. Its so corrupt I honestly don't even know where to begin.

It's a joke tbh.

Eastisup Wed 20-Jan-21 08:22:12

www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/statement-press-secretary-regarding-executive-grants-clemency-012021/

Frownette Wed 20-Jan-21 08:28:11

Thank you @Eastisup smile

Some of them make interesting reading. I wonder how they'll fare on the future.

BorderlineHappy Wed 20-Jan-21 10:20:33

Lisa Montgomery was a damaged women who suffered sexual assault and abuse as a child and had many mental health problems.

It was preplanned.She even done a dry run the day before.
She looked up how to perform c section.

She was about to lose custody of her kids.

And amazing how the mental health card is brought out when you've to pay for your crimes.

It's up there with finding Jesus.

MaggieFS Wed 20-Jan-21 10:26:52

StealthPolarBear

Thank you all. Good to hear it does go through some sort of process.
I get the issue about the law changing, didn't we pardon a load of gay men who were charged with being gay back when that was a crime, and I totally agree that sort of thing is right. But we didn't need to wait until a particular day on a particular year!



I'm not sure we do pardons but there are apologies by the government of the day in parliament for previous convictions. I think these obviously only apply where the convicted is deceased. Otherwise there would be an appeal via the justice system?

TriflePudding Wed 20-Jan-21 11:30:54

BorderlineHappy

Justice should not involve taking a life, no matter how unpalatable the crime.

DianaT1969 Wed 20-Jan-21 13:06:36

I liken it slightly to the overt cronyism in the UK when a Prime Minister leaves office and appoints all his/her undeserving mates to the House of Lords, for a life-long free gravy train. An easy £4k income per month for doing sweet FA, plus amassing influence to get well paid positions on boards.

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