WASHINGTON (AP) - President George W. Bush has granted pardonsto 14 individuals and commuted the prison sentences of two others convicted of misdeeds ranging from drug offenses to tax evasion, from wildlife violations to bank embezzlement, The Associated Press learned Monday.
The new round of White House pardons are Bush's first since
March and come less than two months before he will end his
presidency. The crimes committed by those on the list also include
offenses involving hazardous waste, food stamps, and the theft of
President Bush has been stingy during his time in office about handing out such reprieves.
Including these actions, he has granted a total of 171 and eight
commutations. That's less than half as many as Presidents Clinton
or Reagan issued during their time in office. Both were two-term
On the latest pardon list were:
-Leslie Owen Collier of Charleston, Mo. She was convicted for
unauthorized use of a pesticide and violating the Bald and Golden
Eagle Protection Act.
-Milton Kirk Cordes of Rapid City, S.D. Cordes was convicted of
conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act, which prohibits importation
into the country of wildlife taken in violation of conservation
-Richard Micheal Culpepper of Mahomet, Ill., who was convicted
of making false statements to the federal government.
-Brenda Jean Dolenz-Helmer of Fort Worth, Texas, for reporting
or helping cover up a crime.
-Andrew Foster Harley of Falls Church, Va. Harley was convicted
of wrongful use and distribution of marijuana and cocaine.
-Obie Gene Helton of Rossville, Ga., whose offense was
unauthorized acquisition of food stamps.
-Carey C. Hice Sr. of Travelers Rest, S.C., who was convicted of
income tax evasion.
-Geneva Yvonne Hogg of Jacksonville, Fla., convicted of bank
-William Hoyle McCright Jr. of Midland, Texas, who was sentenced
for making false entries, books, reports or statements to a bank.
-Paul Julian McCurdy of Sulphur, Okla., who was sentenced for
misapplication of bank funds.
-Robert Earl Mohon Jr. of Grant, Ala., who was convicted of
conspiracy to distribute marijuana.
-Ronald Alan Mohrhoff of Los Angeles, who was convicted for
unlawful use of a telephone in a narcotics felony.
-Daniel Figh Pue III of Conroe, Texas, convicted of illegal
treatment, storage and disposal of a hazardous waste without a
-Orion Lynn Vick of White Hall, Ark., who was convicted of
aiding and abetting the theft of government property.
President Bush also commuted the prison sentences of John Edward Forte of North Brunswick, N.J., and James Russell Harris of Detroit, Mich. Both were convicted of cocaine offenses.
Under the Constitution, the president's power to issue pardons
is absolute and cannot be overruled.
Some high-profile individuals, such as Michael Milken, are
seeking a pardon on securities fraud charges. Two politicians
convicted of public corruption - former Rep. Randy "Duke"
Cunningham, R-Calif., and four-term Democratic Louisiana Gov. Edwin
W. Edwards - are asking Bush to shorten their prison terms.
One hot topic of discussion related to pardons is whether Bush
might decide to issue pre-emptive pardons before he leaves office
to government employees who authorized or engaged in harsh
interrogations of suspected terrorists in the wake of the Sept. 11,
Some constitutional scholars and human rights groups want the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama to
investigate possible war crimes.
If Bush were to pardon anyone involved, it would provide
protection against criminal charges, particularly for people who
were following orders or trying to protect the nation with their
actions. But it would also be highly controversial.
At the same time, Obama advisers say there is little - if any -
chance that his administration would bring criminal charges.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)