(WASHINGTON) -- Maybe the ninth time’s a charm.
A number of legislators, including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., reintroduced legislation this week to posthumously pardon boxing legend Jack Johnson, who was convicted 100 years ago of transporting a woman across state lines for an “immoral purpose” in a trial they said was tainted by race.
“Since 2004, Congressman King and I have fought for a posthumous pardon of Jack Johnson, the world’s first African-American heavyweight champion, for his racially motivated conviction,” said McCain in a statement. “In past years, both chambers of Congress unanimously passed this resolution, but unfortunately, it still awaits executive action and no pardon has been issued.”
Johnson was sentenced to prison in 1913 under the Mann Act for taking a white woman across state lines. The Mann Act prohibited taking women across state lines for “immoral purposes,” and has since been amended to apply only to prostitution or illegal sexual acts.
The lawmakers wanted to pass this legislation in both the House and Senate early this year in hopes that the president would grant the pardon, said McCain’s communications director Brian Rogers. The legislation previously passed through both houses in 2009.
McCain sent Obama a letter to persuade him to grant the pardon in 2009, following an exchange with the Department of Justice in which the department said it was not its “general policy” to process applications for the posthumous pardon of a federal offense.
“The [Obama] administration has said they don’t do posthumous pardons, though there is precedent for posthumous pardons from the Clinton administration,” Rogers told ABC News.
Former President Clinton was the first to grant a posthumous pardon in February 1999 of Henry O’ Flipper, the first African-American graduate of West Point Academy. Former President George W. Bush also granted one posthumous pardon over the course of his two terms.
In Article 2, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, it states that “The President … shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.” There is no indication of whether it matters if the person to be pardoned is living or dead. Obama did pardon 17 living prisoners last Friday.
“We can never completely right the wrong perpetrated against Jack Johnson during his lifetime,” McCain said in the statement. “But this pardon is a small, meaningful step toward acknowledging his mistreatment before the law and celebrating his legacy of athletic greatness and historical significance.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Entries in Pardon (4)
(WASHINGTON) -- Maybe the ninth time’s a charm.
(WASHINGTON) -- Liberty and Peace will become the most envied turkeys in America on Wednesday when President Obama grants them pardon, thus saving them from the dreadful yet delicious fate of the Thanksgiving dinner table.
Both 19-week-old, 45-pound turkeys from Willmar, Minn., will be pardoned by the president in a White House ceremony Wednesday morning. According to the White House, the names for Liberty and its alternate Peace were chosen from over 100 submissions to the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association’s website that highlighted the National Thanksgiving Turkey.
Following the pardoning, the birds will be given their freedom at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate. Before taking up residence in a custom-made enclosure at Mount Vernon’s livestock facility, the National Thanksgiving Turkey will be on display for visitors during “Christmas at Mount Vernon,” a special program that runs through Jan. 6.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio
(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama Friday pardoned eight individuals who had been convicted of an eclectic group of crimes, ranging from aiding and abetting the possession and sale of illegal American alligator hides, to conspiracy to import hashish, to the manufacture, assembly, modification and distribution of equipment for the unauthorized decryption of satellite cable.
• Randy Eugene Dyer -- Burien, Wash. Offense: Conspiracy to import marijuana (hashish); conspiracy to remove baggage from the custody and control of the U.S. Customs Service and convey false information concerning an attempt to damage a civil aircraft. Sentence: June 19, 1975; Western District of Washington; five years in prison and two years of special parole (special parole term subsequently vacated.)
• Danny Alonzo Levitz -- Angola, Ind. Offense: Conspiracy. Sentence: Aug. 18, 1980; Northern District of Indiana; two years of probation, $400 fine.
• Michael Ray Neal -- Palm Coast, Fla. Offense: Manufacture, assembly, modification and distribution of equipment for unauthorized decryption of satellite cable programming.
Sentence: May 31, 1991, as amended June 2, 1992; Eastern District of Virginia; six months in prison, three years of supervised release conditioned on six months of home confinement, $2,500 fine.
• Edwin Alan North -- Wolcottville, Ind. Offense: Transfer of a firearm without payment of transfer tax. Sentence: Aug. 18, 1980; Northern District of Indiana; six months of unsupervised probation.
• Allen Edward Peratt Sr. -- Sioux Falls, S.D. Offense: Conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Sentence: July 23, 1990, as amended May 29, 1991; District of South Dakota; 30 months in prison, five years of supervised release.
• Christine Marie Rossiter -- Lincoln, Neb. Offense: Conspiracy to distribute less than 50 kilograms of marijuana. Sentence: Oct. 7, 1992; District of Nebraska; three years of probation conditioned on performance of 500 hours of community service.
• Patricia Ann Weinzatl -- Prentice, Wis. Offense: Structuring transactions to evade reporting requirements. Sentence: Aug. 15, 2001; Western District of Wisconsin; three years of probation, $5,000 fine.
• Bobby Gerald Wilson -- Summerton, S.C. Offense: Aiding and abetting the possession and sale of illegal American alligator hides.
Sentence: Dec. 19, 1985, as amended May 13, 1986; Southern District of Georgia; three and one-half months in prison, five years of probation conditioned on performance of 300 hours of community service.
In addition to the annual pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkey, President Obama previously pardoned nine felons last December.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio
(SANTA FE, N.M.) -- 2010 was a year of pardons: from two Mississippi sisters paroled in exchange for one donating a kidney to another, to rock singer Jim Morrison, to a lucky turkey that received a presidential pardon at Thanksgiving. But one American legend who narrowly escaped redemption was Billy the Kid.
"I've decided not to pardon Billy the Kid because of a lack of conclusiveness and the historical ambiguity as to why Governor Wallace reneged on his pardon," New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson told ABC News Friday.
As legend has it, Gov. Lee Wallace made a promise to Billy to grant him amnesty if he testified before a grand jury about another murder case in Lincoln County. Billy the Kid was in jail at the time for having killed then-Sheriff William Brady.
Wallace reneged on his agreement to pardon Billy the Kid.
In 2003, Richardson, a history buff, first said that he would consider pardoning the famous outlaw. He finally made up his mind Friday.
"It was a very close call. I've been working on this for eight years. The romanticism appealed to me to issue a pardon, but the facts and the evidence did not support it and I've got to be responsible especially when a governor is issuing pardons," Richardson said.
Richardson said that Billy the Kid's decision to continue to murder after the pardon wasn't granted to him impacted his decision.
Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio