Obama pardons 17 felons

Obama pardons 17 felons

New York Times: President Obama issued pardons to 17 felons, the first of his second term.

Their offenses were largely small-scale crimes many years ago, and 12 of the people had not been sentenced to serve time in prison.

Under the Constitution, the president has clemency powers to forgive convictions as a check and balance on the criminal justice system. For a felon who is already out of prison, a pardon can mean erasing the stigma and negative consequences associated with a criminal history, like restrictions on gun ownership, certain licenses and doing business with the government.

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