In the same blog-talk-radio interview on 11/3/12, Peltier attorney, Michael Kuzma had this to say about Peltier’s chances for clemency. (Footnote 1)
“Well if you read some of the recent articles, in fact there was, there were a couple of articles published within the past couple of weeks which indicated that President Obama has been the stingiest President since Reagan with respect to the granting of pardons and commutation of sentences, he’s actually been worse than Bush Two. Obama has been a disappointment in so many different ways. I know, David Geffen from Dreamworks was a big supporter of President Clinton and actually decided to back President Obama over Hillary Clinton because Bill Clinton didn’t commute Leonard’s sentence, you know, in spite of that support from Geffen and some of the Hollywood types. President Obama has made, you know, no indication that he’s gong to commute Leonard’s sentence any time soon.”
Peltier knows the only way he’s walking out of Coleman-1 is with a commutation of his sentence.
Based on his 2009 Lewisburg parole hearing his next hearing won’t be until July, 2024, at the age of 80, and a projected release date still many more years after that. Face it, parole is off the table.
In Kuzma’s interview he adds another insult to the President like Peltier did previously. Kuzma’s “Obama has been a disappointment in so many different ways,” was discourteous and inappropriate when they’re supposed to recognize that the President is the only one they need to convince. But, Peltier did the same thing; in another public interview when President Clinton didn’t cut him lose he said, “These politicians are such sleazebags that you just don’t know.” That was in 2000. Guess some people, or their attorneys it seems, just can’t grasp the concept of not insulting the people you most need to win over. But that’s been a brand mark of the entire Peltier campaign for decades. (Fn. 2)
As for President Clinton not granting clemency, we’ll have to leave it at this: There were several who came out publically and claimed credit for convincing President Clinton not to free Peltier (and as it turns out he was on the short list…even with some staffers at the White house Christmas party that year actually wearing “Free Peltier” buttons). But for those claiming credit it was just wishful thinking. Fact is that only three people know exactly why Peltier wasn’t released, President Clinton and two others. And the reason came down to a basic understanding that President Clinton recognized Peltier’s crimes were significant and freeing him would accomplish nothing.
President Obama has pardoned twenty-two and commuted one sentence, while denying approximately one thousand others. It has been reported that President Obama takes his exclusive Constitutional authority very seriously and was troubled (as were many others, both in Washington and elsewhere) by President Clinton’s pardon of fugitive investor Marc Rich. (Fn. 3)
Of those pardoned, all had served their sentences, thirteen received sentences of only probation, and of the others who were incarcerated, averaged sentences of only 2.8 years. The shortest sentence was 30-days, and the longest, nine years, for relatively minor charges ranging from drug offenses to a liquor law violation and mutilation of coins. There were no terrorists, rapist or murderers on the President’s list. (F. 4)
The recipient of the commutation, a female, had served 10 of a 22-year sentence for selling crack cocaine, which was challenged by her attorneys based on a disparity of sentencing guidelines. She was also undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer. (Fn. 5)
However, if you recall, Mafia boss, John Gotti, sentenced to life in prison for murder and racketeering, died in prison from cancer. (Fn.6)
So the statistics do not bode well for any realistic chance Peltier would be considered for release and there are a number of factors the President would certainly consider in the process. And, of course, he has many more pressing concerns about the country at the moment.
More to follow….
“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”