Obama Administration Wants Review of Commutation Request by Clarence Aaron

Friday, July 20, 2012
Clarence Aaron (photo: Aaron Family)
Clarence Aaron may get a second chance at having his life sentence reduced by the White House.
Convicted in 1993 and sent away for three life terms for his role in a cocaine deal, Aaron was denied commutation by President George W. Bush. But it was not until after he was rejected that it was learned that the pardon attorney had withheld from the White House the fact that Aaron’s prosecutor and trial judge supported commutation.
For Aaron, who was a student at Southern University, his conviction was his first criminal offense and he was not the buyer, seller or supplier of the drugs. Rather, he received $1,500 for arranging a meeting between two people doing the cocaine deal.
Now, the Obama administration has decided to review Aaron’s commutation request. In addition, the Department of Justice has been instructed to conduct a thorough analysis of recommendations for presidential pardons.
It was revealed late last year that the Office of the Pardon Attorney has a history of pardoning four times more white applicants than minorities.
In three and a half years, President Barack Obama has pardoned only 22 individuals. By comparison, Bush pardoned 189 during his eight years in office.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
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