A president is a person with great power. One of those powers bestowed to him or her is the chance to grant pardons for offenses against the United States. It’s limitation however, is that he cannot grant pardons for civil or state cases.
A pardon wipes out all the legal effects of a conviction. You can get it from the time an offense is committed, or after you have served your full sentence.
How does the president have such power?
This power is in the Founder’s Constitution. Thus, it does not only make it a privilege but also a responsibility to the people in the United States of America. As a president and a Commander in Chief of the US Army and Navy, he must establish who he is and what he is capable of.
When can the president grant a pardon?
With the way it is being talked about, pardons sound like an awfully heavy responsibility for one person. The fact that it has to do with the justice system makes it even weigh more than the idea of just a mere “pardon.” There are always limitations to people who have power.
- When it is from the desire to help the nation heal.
In 1992, President George H.W. Bush wrote that the power to pardon was to put bitterness behind because military cases during the time had to do with the war. War is a painful idea and is a mourning for those who have lost their loved ones to defend the country. Ongoing cases with that idea means resurfacing anger and anguish from the people who have sacrificed to win. Presidents need to make their nation heal.
- Temper justice with mercy in appropriate cases.
There are many people who have given their opinions on the idea of pardons. To Alexander Hamilton, pardoning was necessary to weigh equal to the harsh justice of the criminal code. He reflects this in The Federalist No. 74 wherein he points out that the pardon power are for those who deserves to have another chance to change.
- To save a person who is wrongfully convicted.
It fosters a healthier and more humane environment. It is not only limited to giving second chances but saving innocent people who have been convicted of crimes they didn’t do. In past research, there are always instances where the jury convicts the wrong people, either for the lack of money or other important resources.
In Canada, the government has stepped up their game by having a finger printing process. Through this, one can easily do background checks. It is not only an advancement in technology but also the records system and the security. It promotes not only the welfare of the people but their comfortability in the country they are in. Presidential pardons are similar in a way wherein it promotes the welfare of the citizens of the country who deserve their rights.