FOXNews.com – Bush Pardons 15 Convicts, Commutes 1 Prison Sentence
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department announced Tuesday that President Bush has issued 15 new pardons and commuted one prison sentence.The single commutation announced Tuesday was for a Portsmouth, Va., woman convicted of attempted drug distribution. Patricia Beckford was sentenced in 1992 to 23 years in federal prison for conspiracy and attempt to distribute more than 50 grams of crack cocaine. Following the president’s order, however, Beckford will get out early. Her release is now set for July 24, 2008.
Of Bush’s 15 pardons, four of them were for people convicted of various drug offenses. All have long since served their time or their probation; this pardon merely relieves them from having a felony conviction on their record.
— Anthony C. Foglio (aka Tony Foley) of Santee, Calif. Offense: Distribution of marijuana. Sentenced Oct. 15, 1996, in West Virginia to three years probation.
The Foglio pardon is interesting. He is now an associate pastor at Sonrise Community Church in Santee, a community near San Diego, California.
Foglio’s crime was selling marijuana – hundreds of pounds. He would buy it in Imperial Beach and sell it in West Virginia while he lived in both places, he said.
He said his father, Anthony Foglio, founding pastor of Sonrise, told him in 1994 that he should turn himself in. “Then it was like to Lord reached in and changed my heart,” Foglio said. He pleaded guilty in West Virginia federal court to one count of selling marijuana. In 1996, he was given three years’ probation, with no prison time.
About 18 months ago, a former college friend started the paperwork for Foglio’s pardon. The FBI investigated, and clemency was approved.
Foglio has been a licensed pastor for three years and sometimes preaches about his troubled past.
“It causes me to not judge anyone,” he said. “I think mercy is greater than justice.”
Indeed. Now if we can only get mercy and justice to the thousands of others who are convicted of drug offenses, whether incarcerated or not. Those convictions haunt the person for the rest of their lives when they’re trying to apply for work, get student aid, or receive federal assistance.
Three of the other pardons also involved people convicted of drug offenses:
— William Marcus McDonald of Wetumpka, Alabama. Offense: Distribution of cocaine, possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, use of cocaine, possession of cocaine, use of marijuana. Sentenced May 2, 1984, by U.S. Air Force general court-martial convened at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., to four years confinement at hard labor, forfeiture of $300 pay per month for four years, reduction in rank to basic airman, and a bad conduct discharge.
— William L. Baker of Spokane, Wash. Offense: Distribution of a controlled substance; falsifying records. Sentenced July 15, 1980, in Wyoming to 24 months imprisonment, one year special parole.
— Robert Michael Milroy of Cinnaminson, N.J. Offense: Importation of heroin. Sentenced April 2, 1975, in seven and a half years imprisonment, six years special parole, and three years probation.