Obama Issues First Pardons - Nine Get Relief

Barack Obama

President Barack Obama deplanes Air Force One in Afghanistan while in Washington it was announced he had issued his first presidential pardons. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

After drawing sustained criticism for pardoning more turkeys than humans, President Obama has finally issued his first pardons to human recipients.

As was noted by the PardonPower blog, which has roundly criticized the president for not issuing any pardons deep into his presidency, the pardoned individuals weren't heavy duty criminals.

Six out of the nine pardons were granted to individuals whose violations were so minor they were not even given prison sentences, only probation.

NPR's Carrie Johnson underscored that point in a report she did for the network's newscast:

Legal analysts have been urging Mr. Obama to use his pardon power. He's been the slowest Democratic president  in history to grant clemency...

... Pardon experts say the most interesting is the pardon of US serviceman Edgar Leopold Kranzfor using cocaine, adultery and writing bad checks almost 20 years ago

Here are details from the White House press release:

Today President Barack Obama granted pardons to the following nine individuals:

  • James Bernard Banks - Liberty, Utah

Offense: Illegal possession of government property; 18 U.S.C. § 641.

Sentence: Oct. 31, 1972; District of Utah; two years of probation.

  • Russell James Dixon - Clayton, Ga.

Offense: Felony liquor law violation; 26 U.S.C. § 5604(a)(1).
Sentence: June 23, 1960; Northern District of Georgia; two years of probation.

  • Laurens Dorsey - Syracuse, N.Y.

Offense: Conspiracy to defraud the United States by making false statements to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; 18 U.S.C. §§ 371, 1001.

Sentence: Aug. 31, 1998; District of New Jersey; five years of probation and $71,000 restitution.

  • Ronald Lee Foster - Beaver Falls, Penn.

Offense: Mutilation of coins; 18 U.S.C. § 331.
Sentence: Oct. 4, 1963; Eastern District of North Carolina; one year of probation and $20 fine.

  • Timothy James Gallagher - Navasota, Texas

Offense: Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine; 21 U.S.C. § 846.
Sentence: Oct. 18, 1982; District of Arizona; three years of probation.

  • Roxane Kay Hettinger - Powder Springs, Ga.

Offense: Conspiracy to distribute cocaine; 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 846.
Sentence: March 31, 1986; Northern District of Iowa; 30 days in jail followed by three years of probation.

  • Edgar Leopold Kranz Jr. - Minot, N.D.

Offense: Wrongful use of cocaine, adultery and writing three insufficient fund checks; Articles 112a and 134, Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Sentence: Sept. 14, 1994, as approved Nov. 4, 1994; General court-martial convened at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii; bad conduct discharge (suspended), 24 months of confinement and reduction to pay grade E-1.

  • Floretta Leavy - Rockford, Ill.

Offense: Distribution of cocaine, conspiracy to distribute cocaine, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute; 21 U.S. C. §§ 841(a)(1), (a)(2) and 846, 18 U.S.C. § 2.

Sentence: Oct. 19, 1984; District of Kansas; one year and one day in prison and three years of special parole.

  • Scoey Lathaniel Morris - Crosby, Texas

Offense: Passing counterfeit obligations or securities; 18 U.S.C. §§ 472 and 2.
Sentence: May 21, 1999; Western District of Texas; three years of probation and $1,200 restitution, jointly and severally.



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