President Grants Pardons To 11
Saturday, December 24, 2005
President Bush has granted 11 pardons, bringing to 69 the number of clemency orders he has issued since taking office five years ago, the Justice Department said.
Three moonshiners and a bank robber are among those pardoned, as is a Denver lawyer with Republican political ties. The pardons were issued yesterday, in keeping with a tradition of granting clemency during the holidays.
One of those pardoned, Wendy St. Charles, is a lawyer for a Denver home builder, MDC Holdings, parent of Richmond American Homes, the Denver Post reported. St. Charles was convicted on drug charges in 1984 and sentenced to four years in prison.
MDC's chairman, Larry Mizel, has contributed more than half a million dollars to Republican campaigns along with his wife, Carol, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. A company spokeswoman did not immediately return a phone call.
One of the moonshiners, Carl E. Cantrell of Monteagle, Tenn., said he was arrested at his still without ever selling a drop. He was convicted of federal liquor law violations in 1967 and sentenced to three years' probation.
"I wasn't trying to cause nobody no harm," he told the Knoxville News Sentinel. "I was just trying to make a living."
Also pardoned was Donald Lee Pendergrass of Ramona, Calif., who was convicted of bank robbery with a dangerous weapon in 1964.
The other pardons were for offenses such as drug possession or making false statements on loan applications.
"These are individuals who all applied for clemency, and their applications were reviewed by the Office of the Pardon Attorney and forwarded to the president, who makes the final decision on whether to grant clemency," said Justice Department spokesman John Nowacki.
The Constitution provides the president with the power to grant clemency. A presidential pardon cannot expunge a conviction but it can help a person with a criminal record regain rights such as voting and owning guns.
Those granted pardons are: