by Reyna Estrada / Sports Editor
Trump has issued 25 pardons and 10 commutations as of February 2020; 11 of those were issued recently on Feb. 18.
Sometimes pardons and commutations may be grouped together, despite the differences between the two concepts.
A pardon is a decree or order that exempts somebody from punishment for a crime. It is meant to consider public welfare and is used when there is an apparent unfairness in the courts that is unable to be resolved, according to nolo.com’s legal encyclopedia.
However, since a pardon is typically not reviewed, there is really no way to check for those criteria.
A commutation, on the other hand, is the reduction of the punishment for a crime — often in the form of reducing a prison sentence.
The two issues also differ in some other ways. A commutation, sometimes, does not have to be accepted by the prisoner, but pardons need the prisoner’s consent. Additionally, commutations do not give the prisoner the civil rights they may have lost, but pardons do restore civil rights, as well as condone the crime.
Trump has faced criticism for his choice of pardons and commutations.
In an interview with PBS.org, Nancy Gerder, a former federal judge, said, “Most other presidents had a process for it, had standards, had a pardon attorney, had a process within the Department of Justice. I don’t know that the president has that kind of a process.”
“The purpose of that process is to make sure that pardons are not doled out because of political influence or just celebrity status,” she added.
So who are these 11 individuals that President Trump granted clemency?
DeBartolo is a businessman, best known as the former owner of the San Francisco 49ers. DeBartolo pleaded guilty for failure to report an alleged extortion attempt that involved former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards. DeBartolo avoided jail time in exchange for testifying against Edwards, but he served two years probation and was fined from the NFL. Additionally, he was barred from ownership of the 49ers for a year.
Milken is a financier and philanthropist who is often dubbed the “junk bond king” for his involvement in expanding the high-yield junk bond market. In 1989, Milken was implicated for fraud during an insider trading investigation. He pleaded guilty to securities and reporting violations but not to racketeering or insider trading. As a result, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, which was later reduced to two years, fined $600 million, and banned from the securities industry.
Stanton is an author, reality TV star and criminal justice reform activist. She is known for her book, “Lies of a Real Housewife: Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil,” and for her work with the American King Foundation. In 2007, Stanton served six months of home confinement for her involvement in a stolen-vehicle-ring.
Friedler is the former president and CEO at Symplicity Corporation, an enterprise software company. In 2014, he was convicted of conspiracy to break into competitors’ servers. He admitted that he used the Tor network to stay anonymous as he broke into rival servers to see their software design and features as well as access their contacts.
Safavian is a Republican lawyer who worked as a lobbyist, congressional aid and as an appointee in George W. Bush’s administration. He was arrested and charged with connection to the Abramoff corruption scandal and sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2006. However, in 2008, the United States Court of Appeals reversed the conviction and ordered a retrial due to trial errors. In the second trial, Safavian was convicted again for obstructing a GSA investigation, lying on a financial disclosure form and two counts of making false statements.
Pogue is the founder of Pogue Construction, a Texas-based company. In 2010, Pogue received a probated sentence for filing false income tax statements. He was convicted of federal tax fraud charges. Additionally, he was fined $250,0000 and $473,000 for the money he did not report. Pogue’s family has donated more than $200,000 to Trump’s reelection campaign.
Kerik is a former New York City police officer — he is known for his time as the commissioner of the New York City Department of Correction and as the New York City commissioner. He was also appointed as the interior minister of the Iraqi Coalition Provisional Authority by George. W. Bush. In 2006, Kerik pleaded guilty to ethics violations and was fined. In 2009, he pleaded guilty to eight felony charges, including tax fraud and lying to White House officials. He was sentenced to four years in jail but was released after serving three years for good behavior.
Blagojevich was the 40th governor of Illinois in 2003 until he was impeached and removed from office in 2009. He was charged with corruption for his attempt to fill the United States Senate seat that was previously Barack Obama’s to the highest bidder. He was impeached for abuse of power and corruption. In 2010, he was convicted for lying to the FBI and the jury was hung on the 23 other charges; a mistrial was called for the 23 charges. In 2011, he was retried and found guilty of 17 charges, not guilty on one and no verdict for the remaining two. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison.
Negron is a Florida woman that served eight years for her involvement in a $205 million Medicare fraud scheme. She was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2011.
Munoz is a Texas woman who was sentenced to prison for 20 years for her involvement in conspiring to distribute marijuana. She was sentenced in 2007, and she states that her only role was drawing maps that were allegedly used in moving the drugs from Mexico to Texas.
Hall is a 36-year-old Texas woman who was convicted for various drug charges in July of 2006. She was sentenced 35 years in prison without parole for allowing her apartment to be used to distribute drugs. In 2016, her sentence was reduced to 18 and five years of supervised release.