How does the par­don process work?

The Week (US) - - News 11 -

Typ­i­cally, of­fend­ers make a for­mal re­quest to the Jus­tice Department’s Of­fice of the Par­don At­tor­ney, which ad­vises on ex­ec­u­tive clemency. (The DOJ im­poses a five-year wait­ing pe­riod af­ter the par­don seeker’s con­vic­tion or re­lease.) The par­don of­fice eval­u­ates the re­quest, then makes a rec­om­men­da­tion. There are times, how­ever, when pres­i­dents cir­cum­vent this process. For­mer Mari­copa County, Ariz., Sher­iff Joe Ar­paio, a staunch Trump sup­porter, never sub­mit­ted a par­don re­quest; in­deed, he’d yet to be sen­tenced for a con­tempt con­vic­tion aris­ing from al­legedly bru­tal and dis­crim­i­na­tory im­mi­gra­tion-en­force­ment prac­tices. Yet the pres­i­dent pre-emp­tively par­doned him. While par­dons of­ten do rem­edy in­jus­tice, “pres­i­dents have re­peat­edly used this power for their per­sonal, po­lit­i­cal, and fa­mil­ial in­ter­ests,” says con­sti­tu­tional scholar Jonathan Tur­ley.

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