Obama includes handful of bank fraud pardons in major clemency sweep

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President Obama included four bank fraud and bank embezzlement pardons in his major clemency sweep on Tuesday.

An article in The Washington Times by Dave Boyer stated that the large number of pardons were unusual for Obama, who has focused his clemency efforts on commuting the life sentences of drug dealers who would not have received such lengthy terms under current law.

During his time in office, Obama has made it a priority to exercise his clemency authority, granting clemency to significantly more individuals than any other president.

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(Source: Department of Justice)

In his most recent sweep on Tuesday, Obama granted clemency to 231 individuals (153 commutations and 78 pardons). This is the highest number of clemency grants in a single day by any president in this nation’s history.

This brings Obama’s total commutations to 1,176 individuals and the total number of pardons to 148 individuals.

“Today’s acts of clemency — and the mercy the President has shown his 1,324 clemency recipients — exemplify his belief that America is a nation of second chances,” the White House stated in a press release.

And despite his time in office quickly coming to a close on Jan. 20, he isn’t done yet, noting in the release that he will issue more grants of both commutations and pardons before leaving office.

The Department of Justice clarifies that a commutation of sentence reduces a sentence, either totally or partially, that is then being served, but it does not change the fact of conviction, imply innocence, or remove civil disabilities that apply to the convicted person as a result of the criminal conviction.

Meanwhile, a pardon is an expression of the president’s forgiveness and ordinarily is granted in recognition of the applicant’s acceptance of responsibility for the crime and established good conduct for a significant period of time after conviction or completion of sentence. It does not signify innocence. 

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