President Bush, who is not known for his generosity in granting pardons or commutations issued a couple of surprising one's today. Bush has received 8,071 petitions to commute a sentence during his term and granted eight, according to the Pardon Attorney Web site of the Justice Department. The president has received 2,228 requests for pardons and granted 171, according to the site. During his eight years in office, President Bill Clinton pardoned 396 people out of 2,001 petitions.
The following are yet more examples of the bipolarity that George Bush has exhibited throughout his two terms as President. Meet the just pardoned Isaac Robert Toussie:
He and his father, Robert (According to Ben Smith at Politico, "did give $28,500 to the RNC this year") were developers that lured low income buyers into substandard housing in the late 1990s. 200 buyers filed a suit in federal court against the Toussies, but it was thrown out after failing to qualify as a class action. In May, 2001, Issac Toussie pleaded guilty to fraud in federal court on Long Island for illegally obtaining federal housing loans. On Sept. 25, Robert Toussie's lawyer, Richard C. Hamburger of Hamburger, Maxson & Yaffe LLP in Melville, N.Y., said his client was so confident of the quality of his houses that he offered to buy back three buyers and pay their moving expenses and $5,000.
Isaac Toussie pleaded guilty in two unrelated cases, one involving HUD mortgage frauds mainly in Gordon Heights and one involving the county's purchase in 2000 of the Chandler estate in Mount Sinai, allegedly for several million dollars more than it was worth.
Toussie could have faced 50 months in prison and millions of dollars in restitution and fines. But U.S. District Judge Denis Hurley sentenced him in July to five months in prison and five months of home detention, and yesterday, after several hearings on whether Toussie should pay the potentially large restitution, he imposed none. In the case of the mortgage fraud, prosecutors said the relevant records were lost in the collapse of the World Trade Center.
While the younger Toussie served semi-hard time, his father has bought up millions of dollars of properties in New York's Suffolk County at bargain basement prices. The elder Toussie is quoted as saying he "never had to pay a dollar in fines or restitution because I’m on the right side of the issues and I’m a good person." I guess the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree.
Now meet Reed Raymond Prior:
In 1995, a University of Iowa graduate, Reed Prior was arrested with 869 grams of methamphetamine, a scale, other drug paraphernalia, and $17,690 in cash in Des Moines. As a three time convicted (though non-violent) felon, Prior would serve a mandatory life sentence on federal drug trafficking (Possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute)charges if convicted. Prior appealed his conviction to the U.S. 8th circuit Appellate Court and lost his appeal.
Prior (now in his late fifties) while in prison, assisted over 100 inmates obtain their GED so as to better prepare them for when they are eventually released from prison. He has taught subjects such as history, English, math, and courses in the U.S. Constitution. Currently, he runs the prison library.
After almost thirteen years in a federal penitentiary in Illinois, the President commuted his sentence from life to being put on supervised parole in February of 2009for an additional ten years more years.