Obama pardons 17 felons as part of his clemency powers. The President chose to pardon these felons, most of them committing small-scale crimes several years ago, in the second month of his second term. On March 1, the New York Times reported that Obama pardoned a total of 22 convicted felons in his first term, exercising his clemency powers three different times.
"As he has in past years, the president granted these individuals clemency because they have demonstrated genuine remorse and a strong commitment to being law-abiding, productive citizens and active members of their communities," said Matt Lehrich, a White House spokesman (via the New York Times).
Once "Obama pardons 17" began trending online, people became curious about who he chose to pardon and if those choices were personal in any way. While these pardons are not uncommon for US presidents, some people have problems with Obama's choices, many wondering if he chose to pardon some of the felons for "personal reasons" (i.e. campaign donations). At the same time, some people understand why the President has pardoned these 17 in particular and praise him for his decision.
"There are thousands of deserving ordinary Americans who have long since paid their debt to society but remain burdened by legal and social restrictions, and are seeking to put their past behind them," said Margaret Colgate Love, a former United States pardon lawyer who now represents clemency seekers (via the New York Times).
What did you think of Obama's 17 pardons?
© Effie Orfanides 2013