President Biden pardoned six people Friday — including a battered wife who killed her husband decades ago, a man who sold untaxed whiskey at age 18 and a former soldier who pleaded guilty to getting high on ecstasy.
“Today, President Biden is granting six full pardons for individuals who have served their sentences and have demonstrated a commitment to improving their communities and the lives of those around them,” a White House official said.
“These include individuals who honorably served in the US military, volunteer in their communities, and survived domestic abuse.
“President Biden believes America is a nation of second chances, and that offering meaningful opportunities for redemption and rehabilitation empowers those who have been incarcerated to become productive, law-abiding members of society,” the official added.
Biden, currently vacationing at a donor’s home on St. Croix, pardoned Edward De Coito, 50, of Dublin, Calif., Vincente Flores, 37, of Winters, Calif., Beverly Ibn-Tamas, 80, of Columbus, Ohio, Charlie Jackson, 77, of Swansea, SC, and John Nock, 72, of St. Augustine, Fla.
None of the recipients are currently in prison, but the reprieves can alleviate the collateral consequences of a conviction on applications for employment, housing, firearms and student loans — while also giving an emotional reprieve from a black mark on their record.
De Coito served a six-month prison sentence 44 years ago for facilitating a cocaine sale and completed a period of probation in 1981.
Flores pleaded guilty to getting drunk and high on ecstasy at age 19 while serving in the Air Force, for which he received a demotion and four months in lockup.
Ibn-Tamas fatally shot her husband nearly 50 years ago. She was pregnant at the time and said she was defending herself. She was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to between one and five years in prison.
Jackson received five years of probation in 1964 for selling untaxed whiskey, dashing his ambition to join the Marine Corps, according to a White House-released biography.
Nock got six months of house arrest in the 1990s for renting a home to his brother to use for growing marijuana.
Biden, 80, pushed harsh criminal penalties, especially for drug crimes, during his 36 years in the Senate — drawing bipartisan criticism during the 2020 election. Critics say laws written by Biden in the 1980s and ’90s contributed to the mass incarceration of minorities and sent some people to prison for life for dealing marijuana.
Biden in October issued on of the largest mass-pardons in US history to people convicted of simple marijuana possession in federal or local DC courts, after campaigning in 2015 on a pledge to release “everyone” in prison for pot.
Although the pot clemency, announced just before the midterm elections, gave pardons to an estimated 6,500 convicted federally, it didn’t release any of the estimated 2,700 federal marijuana inmates who are behind bars largely for selling the drug. The omission dismayed federal pot prisoners and sparked protests outside the White House.