President Bush speaks before departing from the White House in Washington enroute to Camp David, December 22, 2005. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
President Bush has granted 11 pardons, bringing to 69 the number of
clemency orders he has issued since taking office five years ago, the Justice
Three moonshiners and a bank robber are among those pardoned, as is a Denver
attorney with Republican political ties. The pardons were issued Tuesday, in
keeping with a tradition of granting clemency during the holiday season.
One of those pardoned, Wendy St. Charles, is a lawyer for a Denver homebuilder,
MDC Holdings, parent of Richmond American Homes, The Denver Post reported. St.
Charles was convicted on drug charges in 1984 and sentenced to four years in
MDC's chairman, Larry Mizel, has contributed more than half a million dollars
to Republican campaigns along with his wife, Carol, according to the Center
for Responsive Politics. A company spokeswoman did not immediately return a
phone call from The Associated Press.
One of the moonshiners, Carl E. Cantrell of Monteagle, Tenn., said he was arrested
at his still without ever selling a drop. He was convicted of federal liquor
law violations in 1967 and sentenced to three years' probation.
"I wasn't trying to cause nobody no harm," he told The Knoxville
News Sentinel. "I was just trying to make a living."
Also pardoned was Donald Lee Pendergrass of Ramona, Calif., who was convicted
of bank robbery with a dangerous weapon in 1964.
The other pardons were for offenses such as drug possession or making false
statements on loan applications.
"These are individuals who all applied for clemency, and their applications
were reviewed by the Office of the Pardon Attorney and forwarded to the president,
who makes the final decision on whether to grant clemency," said Justice
Department spokesman John Nowacki.
The Constitution provides the president with the power to grant clemency. A
presidential pardon can't expunge a conviction, but it can help regain rights
such as voting and owning guns.
Those granted pardons are:
_Cantrell. Sentenced in 1967 to three years' probation for violation of IRS
_Charles Winston Carter of Hanna City, Ill. Sentenced in 1964 to two years'
probation for conspiracy to steal U.S. property.
_Harper James Finucan of Charleston, S.C. Sentenced in 1980 to 39 months' imprisonment
and five years' special parole for possession with intent to distribute marijuana.
_Bobby Frank Kay Sr. of Suffolk, Va. Sentenced in 1959 to two years' incarceration
and a $1,003 fine for operation of an illegal distillery.
_Melvin L. McKee of Surprise, Ariz. Sentenced in 1982 to five years' probation
conditioned upon 400 hours of community service and a $2,500 fine for conspiracy
to make and cause the making of false statements in loan applications and aiding
and abetting the making of a materially false statement in a loan application.
_Charles Ellis McKinley of Pall Mall, Tennessee. Sentenced in 1950 to two years'
probation for violation of IRS liquor laws.
_Pendergrass. Sentenced in 1964 to 12 years' imprisonment for bank robbery.
_Charles Blurford Power of Fort Pierce, Fla. Sentenced in 1948 to one year
and one day in prison for interstate transportation of a stolen motor vehicle.
_John Gregory Schillace of Hammond, La. Sentenced in 1988; sentence amended
in 1989 to 20 months' imprisonment and three years of supervised release for
conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute.
_St. Charles. Sentenced in 1984 to four years imprisonment, four years of special
parole and four years of probation, consecutively, for conspiracy to conduct
a narcotics enterprise and distribution of cocaine.
_Jimmy Lee Williams of Mesquite, Texas. Sentenced to five years probation and
a $5,000 fine for making a false statement on a loan application.