The Checkered History of Presidential Pardons From “Lupo The Wolf” To “Big George” Caldwell to “Sheriff Joe”

JONATHAN TURLEY

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedBelow is my column in USA Today on the Arpaio pardon and its historical context.  While I have been critical of the Arpaio pardon, the history of presidential pardons is quite checkered.  Moreover, I agree with critics that the Justice Department made a major mistake in the timing of its prosecution of Arpaio shortly before the election.  That does not change the fact that Arpaio was in flagrant violation of a court order and warranted the contempt conviction.  I also disagree with New Jersey Christ Christie in aspects of the following statement: 

“I think the pardon power is an extraordinary power for any executive, both the governor, and I’ve used it, and the president. My understanding has always been that one of the prerequisites you look for in giving a pardon is contrition for what you were convicted of. I didn’t see that in Sheriff Arpaio. And so, to me…

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