This raised some eyebrows…
President Biden has now granted his first three pardons while in office. He also commuted the sentence of 75 individuals currently serving for nonviolent drug crimes. This move was a part of the Biden administration’s “broad commitment” to bring about reforms to the justice system while also dealing with racial disparities.
On Tuesday the White House stated that these moves were part of the president’s “belief that America is a nation of second chances,” further adding that those who have “made efforts to rehabilitate themselves, including through educational and vocational training or drug treatment in prison.”
“Today, I am pardoning three people who have demonstrated their commitment to rehabilitation and are striving every day to give back and contribute to their communities,” the president said. He also spoke about how he would be commuting the sentences of 75 people currently serving “long sentences for non-violent drug offenses, many of whom have been serving on home confinement during the COVIDpandemic [sic]—and many of whom would have received a lower sentence if they were charged with the same offense today, thanks to the bipartisan First Step Act.”
The First Step Act is a law that passed with bipartisan support during the Trump administration. According to the law, the mandatory minimum sentence for those with prior drug felonies was lowered. This meant that those with three convictions could get a maximum sentence of 25 years instead of life.
Those to receive full pardon include Abraham Bolden, an 86-year-old former U.S. Secret Service agent, and the first African American to serve on a presidential detail, who was charged with attempting to sell a copy of his Secret Service file. Betty Jo Bogans, 51, will receive a full pardon after previously being convicted in 1998 for possession with intent to distribute drugs. Finally, Dexter Eugene Jackson, 52, was convicted of distributing marijuana in the Northern District of Georgia will also receive a pardon.