Biden Issues His First Pardons

Grants clemency to 3, commutes sentences of 75 more
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 26, 2022 7:38 AM CDT
Biden Issues His First Pardons
President Biden speaks Friday, April 22, 2022, at Green River College in Auburn, Wash. Biden is announcing the first three pardons of his term. In one case he is providing clemency to a Kennedy-era Secret Service agent convicted of trying to sell a copy of an agency file.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

President Biden has granted his first three pardons, reports the AP, providing clemency to a Kennedy-era Secret Service agent convicted of bribery and to two people convicted on drug-related charges who went on to become pillars in their communities. Biden also commuted the sentences of 75 others for nonviolent, drug-related convictions. The White House announced the clemencies Tuesday as it launched a series of job-training and reentry programs for those in prison or recently released. Several who received commutations would have received lesser terms had they been convicted today for the same offenses as a result of 2018 sentencing reform ushered into law by the Trump administration. Those granted pardons are:

  • Abraham Bolden Sr., 86, the first Black Secret Service agent to serve on a presidential detail. In 1964, Bolden, who served on President John F. Kennedy's detail, faced federal bribery charges that he attempted to sell a copy of a Secret Service file. His first trial ended in a hung jury. Following his conviction in a second trial, key witnesses admitted lying at the prosecutor's request. Bolden, of Chicago, was denied a retrial and served several years in federal prison. Bolden has maintained his innocence and wrote a book in which he argued he was targeted for speaking out against racist and unprofessional behavior in the Secret Service.

  • Betty Jo Bogans, 51, was convicted in 1998 of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine in Texas after attempting to transport drugs for her boyfriend and his accomplice. Bogans, a single mother with no prior record, received a seven-year sentence. In the years since her release from prison, Bogans has held consistent employment, even while undergoing cancer treatment, and has raised a son.
  • Dexter Jackson, 52, of Athens, Ga., was convicted in 2002 for using his pool hall to facilitate the trafficking of marijuana. Jackson pleaded guilty and acknowledged he allowed his business to be used by marijuana dealers. After Jackson was released from prison, he converted his business into a cellphone repair service that employs local high school students through a program that provides young adults with work experience. Jackson has built and renovated homes in his community, which has a shortage of affordable housing.
(More presidential pardon stories.)

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