Who knew helping to sell illegal alligator hides is a federal offense?
President Barack Obama granted pardons to eight people Friday, including one South Carolina man whose offense was “aiding and abetting the possession and sale of illegal American alligator hides.”
Another man, from Palm Coast, Fla., was pardoned of the offense of the “manufacture, assembly, modification and distribution of equipment for unauthorized decryption of satellite cable programming,” according to a White House press release.
A Washington man was pardoned of “conspiracy to remove baggage from the custody and control of the U.S. Customs Service and convey false information concerning an attempt to damage a civil aircraft.”
Obama has now pardoned 19 people in less than two-and-a-half years. By comparison, President George W. Bush pardoned 189 people and commuted the sentences of 11 more during his eight years in office.
In Article II, Section 2, the U.S. Constitution gives the president absolute power to grant pardons.
“Power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment,” the Constitution reads.
Petitions for pardons must be submitted to the Department of Justice’s Office of the Pardon Attorney, established in 1981, which assists the president in determining who to pardon, according to the University of California-Berkley’s Institute of Governmental Studies.
Read the press release below:
WASHINGTON – Today President Barack Obama granted pardons to the following eight individuals:
Randy Eugene Dyer – Burien, Wash.
Offense: Conspiracy to import marijuana (hashish), 21 U.S.C. § 963; conspiracy to remove baggage from the custody and control of the U.S. Customs Service and convey false information concerning an attempt to damage a civil aircraft, 18 U.S.C. § 371.
Sentence: June 19, 1975; Western District of Washington; five years in prison and two years of special parole (special parole term subsequently vacated.)
Danny Alonzo Levitz – Angola, Ind.
Offense: Conspiracy, 18 U.S.C. § 371.
Sentence: Aug. 18, 1980; Northern District of Indiana; two years of probation, $400 fine.
Michael Ray Neal – Palm Coast, Fla.
Offense: Manufacture, assembly, modification and distribution of equipment for unauthorized decryption of satellite cable programming, 47U.S.C. § 605(e)(4).
Sentence: May 31, 1991, as amended June 2, 1992; Eastern District of Virginia; six months in prison, three years of supervised release conditioned on six months of home confinement, $2,500 fine.
Edwin Alan North – Wolcottville, Ind.
Offense: Transfer of a firearm without payment of transfer tax, 26 U.S.C. § 5861(e).
Sentence: Aug. 18, 1980; Northern District of Indiana; six months of unsupervised probation.
Allen Edward Peratt Sr. – Sioux Falls, S.D.
Offense: Conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 846.
Sentence: July 23, 1990, as amended May 29, 1991; District of South Dakota; 30 months in prison, five years of supervised release.
Christine Marie Rossiter – Lincoln, Neb.
Offense: Conspiracy to distribute less than 50 kilograms of marijuana, 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and 846.
Sentence: Oct. 7, 1992; District of Nebraska; three years of probation conditioned on performance of 500 hours of community service.
Patricia Ann Weinzatl – Prentice, Wis.
Offense: Structuring transactions to evade reporting requirements, 31 U.S.C. § 5324(a)(3).
Sentence: Aug. 15, 2001; Western District of Wisconsin; three years of probation, $5,000 fine.
Bobby Gerald Wilson – Summerton, S.C.
Offense: Aiding and abetting the possession and sale of illegal American alligator hides (Lacey Act), 16 U.S.C. § 3373(d)(1)(B) and 18U.S.C. § 2.
Sentence: Dec. 19, 1985, as amended May 13, 1986; Southern District of Georgia; three and one-half months in prison, five years of probation conditioned on performance of 300 hours of community service.