“Obama has a clemency record comparable to the least merciful presidents in history. He has granted just 70 pardons, the lowest mark for any full-term president since John Adams, and 187 commutations of sentence. Meanwhile, 1,629 pardon petitions have been denied (more than five of the previous six presidents), as well as 8,123 requests for commutations (a new record). An additional 3,444 requests have been ‘closed without presidential action.’ Obama’s record is all the more deplorable because of assurances that he has made and that have been made on his behalf. On April 21, 2014, then-Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. encouraged federal prisoners to seek relief, noting that, despite sentencing reforms Obama signed into law in 2010, there were ‘still too many people…sentenced under the old regime’ who needed attention. Holder said the White House had ‘indicated’ that it wanted to ‘consider additional clemency applications to restore a degree of justice, fairness, and proportionality for deserving individuals who do not pose a threat to public safety.’ In addition, the Justice Department was ‘committed to recommending as many qualified applicants as possible for reduced sentences.’ Clemency Project 2014 has, however, become a bureaucratic disaster, assigned to volunteer lawyers and law students with little if any experience in the pitfalls of dealing with the federal criminal justice system.” 

Source: George Lardner, Jr. and P. S. Ruckman, Jr. “On Pardons, Obama Could Go Down As One Of The Most Merciless Presidents In History.” Washington Post. March 26, 2016. 


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