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DEBBIE NORRELL

Who was checking for Jack Johnson? I just want to know if you were staying up at night wondering if someone was going to finally pardon the late boxer. Not me. When I heard that he was pardoned I thought it was a joke and then I found out it was real. What did Johnson do? This was all very long ago. It went like this… Jack Johnson defended his title against a White boxer and won. However, Johnson had a White girlfriend and he was convicted of the Mann Act, taking his White girlfriend across state lines. His relationship with the White woman was considered a crime against nature at that time. The year was 1913.

Take a look at the movie “The Great White Hope” starring James Earl Jones. Perhaps the family of Jack Johnson is happy but I know who is really happy. Alice Marie Johnson and her family. Reportedly they had asked for Obama to grant a pardon but nothing happened. In this case Alice Marie was given a lengthy sentence for a first-time drug offense that took place in 1996. I agree, these sentences were harsh and they need to be adjusted. But my mind tells me that these pardons are going to be a big part of Trump’s next campaign. I bet we will see Johnson and her family on the campaign trail. They may even replace Diamond and Silk.

This is what I think happened. Trump asked for the list of people not pardoned by President Obama and got started with his pardon pen. Jack Johnson and Alice Marie Johnson were both on the list and pardons were asked for both back in 2016. What people are really wondering now is, can the president pardon himself? According to the Washington Post, the Constitution specifically bars the president from using the pardon power to prevent his own impeachment and removal. It adds that any official removed through impeachment remains fully subject to criminal prosecution. That provision would make no sense if the president could pardon himself. Also, a president might choose to grant a pardon before prosecution of a person when the president believes that the prosecution is not in the national interest; President Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon in part for this reason.

I wonder if Mumia Abu-Jamal is on that list somewhere in “J’s.” For those who forgot, Mumia Abu-Jamal is a political activist and journalist who was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1982 for the 1981 murder of Philadelphia police Officer Daniel Faulkner. After numerous appeals, his sentence was commuted in 2011 to life imprisonment without parole. He was one of the most popular prisoners for a very long time. Many have criticized the quality of Abu-Jamal’s trial; some have claimed that he is innocent, and many opposed his death sentence. We haven’t heard much about him for a while. Let’s see how serious 45 is about this pardon list. When he announces that Mumia Abu-Jamal is going to go free, I might think this is for real.

(Email Debbie at debbienorrell@aol.com.)

 

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Lifestyles Report: Pardon me (June 13) was originally published on newpittsburghcourieronline.com

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