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.
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.
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.
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.
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.