ProPublica

Journalism in the Public Interest

Cancel

Dafna Linzer

Dafna Linzer was a senior reporter at ProPublica. She is the author of the ongoing series "Shades of Mercy" on racial bias in presidential pardons. The series was a finalist for Harvard University's Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting and honored by Investigative Reporters and Editors. Her work on Guantanamo and detention in the Obama presidency won the 2010 Overseas Press Club award for General Excellence and received honorable mention for the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel award.

Articles

IG Report: Senior Justice Department Official Shares Blame in Botched Clemency Case

The Justice Department's inspector general says David Margolis, an associate deputy attorney general, did not properly supervise the pardon attorney on the Clarence Aaron case.

Head of Pardons Office Withheld Facts From White House in Key Case

A Department of Justice Inspector General report concluded that the head of the pardons office may have mishandled the case of Clarence Aaron.

Iraq Blocks Syria’s Request to Fetch Combat Helicopters from Russia

Mystery solved. Syria had requested to ferry attack helicopters from Russia over Iraq, but the flights hadn't happened. Now, the Iraqis say they denied permission.

To Retrieve Attack Helicopters from Russia, Syria Asks Iraq for Help, Documents Show

Documents show that Syria asked Iraqi authorities to grant air access to fly in refurbished attack helicopters from Russia, putting a spotlight on Iraq’s role in the nearly two-year conflict.

Flight Records Say Russia Sent Syria Tons of Cash

The records of overflight requests show more than 200 tons of “bank notes” from Moscow to Damascus.

Obama Has Granted Clemency More Rarely Than Any Modern President

Given few positive recommendations by the Justice Department, Obama has handed out pardons and commutations at a lower rate than any of his recent predecessors, a ProPublica analysis shows.

Details Emerge on Government Study of Presidential Pardons

A review triggered by stories published by ProPublica and The Washington Post will test the effect of race on pardon decisions.

Obama Administration Wants Review of Prisoner’s Commutation Request

The Justice Department is reviewing the commutation request of a federal inmate while conducting its first-ever in-depth analysis of presidential pardons.

Congressional Leader Calls for Investigation of the Pardon Office

ProPublica’s story about federal prison inmate Clarence Aaron prompts Rep. John Conyers to press President Obama to open a Justice Department probe.

Pardon Attorney Torpedoes Plea for Presidential Mercy

The prosecutor and trial judge urged federal officials to commute Clarence Aaron's sentence, but the Justice Department had other ideas.

Timeline: Tracking Aaron’s Quest for Clemency

Law School Clinic for Pardons Planned

Spurred by findings in a ProPublica investigation, former Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich pushes for a program to address inequities in the pardons process.

House Panel Queries Attorney General About Pardon Office

The questions from the House Judiciary Committee follow ProPublica's investigation into the Justice Department's pardon office and a finding of racial bias against minorities.

Barbour Says Pardoned Murderers Deserved ‘a Second Chance’

Former governor says pardons should be based on "Christian belief in repentance, forgiveness and redemption."

In Mississippi, Identities of Pardon Applicants Must Be Public

A state judge has blocked the release of 21 people, including five convicted of murder, who were pardoned by the outgoing governor. One issue is whether they had given sufficient public notice of their intent to seek release, allowing time for victims to comment.

Pardon Applicants Benefit From Friends in High Places

Letters from members of Congress triple a criminal's chances of receiving a presidential pardon. Roger Adams, longtime pardon attorney at the Justice Department, acknowledges that lawmakers' support adds "weight" to applicants' prospects.

Michele Bachmann Lobbied For Campaign Donor’s Pardon

Brushing aside objections from a senior Department of Justice official, the DOJ's pardon attorney sent a pardon application from Frank Vennes Jr. forward with a favorable recommendation only to find out that Vennes was under federal investigation.

Presidential Pardons Heavily Favor Whites

To avoid repeating a scandal like his predecessor’s, George W. Bush gave career lawyers in the Justice Department far-reaching authority to choose who got presidential pardons. The result: Whites are nearly four times as likely as minorities to win a pardon.

Contrasting Colors, Contrasting Results

The Shadow of Marc Rich

Few pardons have had a more lasting effect than President Clinton's 11th-hour decision to forgive Marc Rich.