Survivalist Forum banner

1 - 1 of 1 Posts

Wild Edibles Expert
10,167 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Pardon After-Party: Clemency for Man Who Maintained Innocence
Last week we told you about the pardon party going on in Washington, where President Bush continued to add to his so-far scant total of pardons, and earlier today we referenced one of the pardons in particular. Let’s continue with the theme, take a deeper look at a WSJ Page One story from this weekend which highlighted a trait shared by at least half of last week’s 14 pardonees: a love of guns.

Five of the (now-formerly) convicted felons, including Leslie Collier told WSJ that they listed their need to bear arms — a right that can only be restored by presidential pardon — as a chief reason for applying. LawBlog readers might be interested to know that none of them used a lawyer, and most said their lawyers either discouraged them from applying or said they would never succeed.

The Justice Department, which sorts through pardon petitions and submits candidates to the president, has said petitioners must show they’ve led an upstanding life since their conviction and accepted responsibility for their actions with remorse. Those five we spoke to argued that they did. (See Collier’s pardon petition here.) But what about those who maintain their innocence?

Meet Orion Vick, of White Hall, Arkansas (photo unavailable), who was also pardoned last week. Vick, an explosive ordnance disposal technician, was convicted of aiding and abetting the theft of property on a gunnery range at an Arizona air force base in 1975.

He says he is innocent, the victim of an overzealous FBI agent and federal prosecutor. What’s more, Vick says he agreed to testify for the government in a slew of related cases — but didn’t get much credit for it.

The conviction always weighed him down emotionally, but it didn’t affect his purse strings until after 9/11, when employers routinely began doing background checks. He says he was fired from a chemical disposal facility, couldn’t get a job at the Transportation Security Administration, and couldn’t become a troop leader in the Boy Scouts.

That motivated him to visit a JAG office and ask how to word his clemency petition. He was told to tell the truth. So in 2003 he wrote to the president, explaining his situation. We don’t know whether the president agreed with Vick that he was innocent, but Vick got the good news last Monday. “I asked God to give me his help, and five years later . . . God answers prayers,” he says. (To view last week’s pardon “warrant” for Vick and 13 others, click here.)

He says he wants to go to Afghanistan or Iraq to help the U.S. military deal with IEDs, but he recently had a heart attack and may have to work state-side.

Vick’s example is rare, says P.S. Ruckman Jr., writer of the Pardon Power blog. Ruckman says several individuals involved in high-profile prosecutions who maintained their innocence were granted pardons, but he couldn’t recall low-profile felons with no political connections who formally applied for one and succeeded.
1 - 1 of 1 Posts