Pardon Me??? — Part I

Meet Stephanie Mohr …

Mohr

In the middle of the night on Sept. 21, 1995, a local Prince George’s County police burglary stakeout unit found two homeless men on the empty roof of a business, eating food they had found in the trash in Takoma Park, Md. Ordered down from the roof, Ricardo Mendez and his friend willingly climbed down. Lit by a police helicopter above and facing a brick wall, the two men were surrounded by police officers, some with guns drawn, and Mohr holding her German shepherd on a leash. Both men obeyed commands and stood facing the wall with their hands up.

It should have been over. It wasn’t.

A police sergeant later testified that he was approached by Mohr’s supervising officer who said, “Hey Sarge, we got a new dog. Mind if it gets a bite?” The sergeant gave consent, and Mohr set her dog to attack Mendez, an undocumented immigrant whose only crime was seeking a safe place to eat and sleep. Mohr testified that she was doing her job as trained, and the victim needed “only 10 stitches.”

Think about that: only 10 stitches. Mohr disregarded her training to give her dog a taste of flesh and blood.

This was no accident or split-second mistake. It was a willful and deliberate act of police brutality. It was also not Mohr’s first — and there was a pattern to the violence. Evidence at trial showed that Mohr had previously released her dog on a Black teenager sleeping in a hammock in his own backyard. She had threatened the relatives of a fugitive that she would let her dog attack their “black ass” if they did not tell her where he was. There were other incidents that the jury did not even learn about, including one in which Mohr put her dog into a trash dumpster to attack a man who had fled from police.

At trial, in addition to the police sergeant at the scene who pleaded guilty and went to jail for his role, numerous police officer witnesses testified about the incident. The jury convicted Mohr and the presiding judge gave her a significant prison sentence. A unanimous panel of judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, one of the most conservative appellate courts in the country, affirmed her conviction. Mohr was released after serving a 10-year sentence.

On December 23rd, Donald Trump pardoned Ms. Mohr.  This is but one of many unconscionable pardons issued by Trump last month, and not by far the most horrendous.  Throughout his tenure, Trump has issued pardons for those charged, and in most cases convicted, of crimes from something as simple as drug possession all the way up to and including premeditated murder.

Throughout history, presidents have used their pardon pen to pardon the unpardonable, but none have abused it in the ways that Donald Trump has.  It is time to take away the presidential pardon pen.  Why should one man be able to undo sentences handed down by judges and juries?  Why should it be possible for one person, with the stroke of a pen, to release killers back into our ranks?  And why should the person elected by the people of this nation not be held to account by those people?

Trump’s very first pardon, in August 2017, was the notorious Joe Arpaio, former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, who had a history of racism and human rights violations, failure to comply with federal laws, and basically thumbing his nose at humanity.  On July 31, 2017, Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt of court.  Less than a month later, on August 25th, Trump pardoned him. The pardon covers Arpaio’s conviction and “any other offenses that might arise or be charged.”  Trump announced his decision on Twitter, declaring that Arpaio is an “American patriot” who had “kept Arizona safe.”  Safe for whom?  Certainly not for the Latino population, many of whom Arpaio had jailed simply for the crime of existing.

On December 22 – 23, Trump issued some 41 pardons by my count.  The ones you’ve heard the most about, George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, Duncan Hunter and his wife Margaret, while shameful, are far from the worst of the lot.  The worst was Trump’s pardon of four men convicted of killing innocent civilians, including children.  The pardoning of four Blackwater guards – Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty, Nicholas Slatten and Paul Slough – may well have been a violation of international law, and is most definitely, as United Nations experts have said, “an affront to justice”.

Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty, Paul Slough, Nicholas Slatten

FILE – This combination made from file photo shows Blackwater guards, from left, Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty, Nicholas Slatten and Paul Slough. On Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020, President Donald Trump pardoned 15 people, including Heard, Liberty, Slatten and Slough, the four former government contractors convicted in a 2007 massacre in Baghdad that left more a dozen Iraqi civilians dead and caused an international uproar over the use of private security guards in a war zone. (AP Photo/File)

In the next day or two, I plan to delve a bit deeper into Trump’s pardons, particularly those, like the Blackwater guards, whose crimes truly are ‘unpardonable’.  Why did Trump pardon the ones he did?  What was in it for him?  As we all know by now, Trump does nothing without expecting something in return.  Can any of these pardons be reversed once Trump leaves office?  And lastly, is it time to take away the presidential pardon pen?  I believe that, like the Electoral College, it may well be a law that has outlived its usefulness and is now the subject of much abuse.

Stay tuned …

29 thoughts on “Pardon Me??? — Part I

  1. This would be predictable par from Trump, I can imagine that in his spite and petulance he looked for folk whose pardoning would upset and offend the communities who voted against him and just did it for that reason.
    His pettiness and lack of moral compass will remain long after he has been shovelled into the earth.

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          • Yes. 😦 Trump has found every loophole in the system and exploited it in a way the writers of your constitution could never have imagined. He may be an outlier, but now that he’s shown it can be done, he won’t be the last. Sadly with so many still fervently believing every word he utters, fixing those loopholes may be next to impossible.

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  2. I’m waiting to find out if he pardons white people who have committed crimes against people of a different hue. That could certainly fit with his beliefs as known. But with Trump, I wonder if there is a profit motive on the line. I’ll be interested to see what you find or conclude.
    Cwtch.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think the answer to those questions will be multi-dimensional, based on my research thus far. I think we will find that some of his pardons were for personal gain, such as Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, and ol’ Roger Stone, while others may be for future favours, and still others may be simply to send a “F*** You” message to We the People. Sigh. I’m thinking this will be a 3, maybe 4 part series, for there is much I need to read, need to understand. And, he may issue more pardons this week that could extend it even more. Stay tuned.
      Cwtch

      Liked by 2 people

  3. This makes me SICK!!!!! What is wrong with people????? The evil, sadistic cruelty of this story makes me feel sick inside! And of course, trump would pardon her! I wouldn’t expect anything less of him!!!!! He is without heart, without empathy! I’d have to say the same for someone that would release a dog ….to inflict pain and terror on another human being.
    I keep thinking it can’t get any worse, but then it does! Good vrs evil!!!! 😥

    Liked by 5 people

    • What is wrong with people, you ask? I’ve been asking myself that question a lot lately. Why, if President Obama had done one-hundredth of the things Trump has done, I can guarantee he would have been impeached so fast your head would have spun right off your neck. I don’t know, my friend, I don’t pretend to understand the ignorance and lack of conscience that seems to guide half the people in this nation today. They claim to be religious, to be “Christian”, and yet they treat most people like dirt, while raising those with few or no moral values like conquering heroes. Hang tight, my friend … just 18 more days to go, or just over 430 hours. We can do this! And then, we will have a president who cares, who is educated and intelligent … the exact antithesis of Trump.

      Liked by 2 people

        • I find it the height of hypocrisy that republicans were aghast when President Obama wore a tan-coloured suit one time … I think they were considering impeachment for such an infraction! And yet, look what they’ve turned a blind eye to with Trump. And they criticized First Lady Michelle Obama for wearing a sleeveless dress to some event or another, but Trump’s wife was a nude model, and that doesn’t bother them a bit. Double standard? Methinks so. He likely knows quite well that he has broken the law in multiple ways, and faces a barrage of lawsuits as soon as he’s no longer in office, hence the desire to pardon himself. However, it would be not only controversial, but illegal for him to do so. Not that legalities or controversies have ever stopped him before. Sigh.

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