List of people pardoned or granted clemency by the President of the United States

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The following is a partial list of people pardoned or granted clemency by the President of the United States.

In accordance with the United States Constitution's Article II, Section 2, Clause 1, presidents are vested "power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment."[1] The president exercises broad authority, in granting federal pardons. The president can issue a full pardon; reversing a criminal conviction as if it never happened. The president can commute a criminal sentence, lessening its severity, its duration, or both while leaving a record of the conviction in place. Or the president can make a pardon conditional, or vacate a conviction while leaving parts of the sentence in place, like the payment of fines or restitution.[1] U.S. presidents have no power to grant clemency for crimes prosecuted under state or local law or for civil offenses.

Approximately 20,000 pardons and commutations were issued by U.S. presidents in the 20th century alone. Pardons granted by presidents from George Washington until Grover Cleveland's first term (1885–1889) were hand written by the president; thereafter, pardons were prepared for the president by administrative staff requiring only that the president sign it.[2] The records of these Presidential acts were openly available for public inspection until 1934. In 1981 the Office of the Pardon Attorney was created and records from President George H. W. Bush forward are now listed.[3]

This list includes pardons and commutations of various notable subjects or historically significant people.[4]

George Washington[edit]

President George Washington pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 16 people.[2] Among them are:

  • Philip Vigol (or Wigle) and John Mitchel, convicted of treason for their roles in the Whiskey Rebellion

John Adams[edit]

Federalist President John Adams pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 21 people.[2] Among them are:

  • David Bradford, for his role in the Whiskey Rebellion
  • John Fries, for his role in Fries's Rebellion; convicted of treason due to opposition to a tax; Fries and others were pardoned, and a general amnesty was issued for everyone involved.

Thomas Jefferson[edit]

Democratic-Republican President Thomas Jefferson pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 119 people.[2] One of his first acts upon taking office was to issue a general pardon for any person convicted under the Sedition Act.[5] Among them are:

James Madison[edit]

Democratic-Republican President James Madison pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 196 people.[2] Among them are:

  • William Hull – while Governor of the Michigan Territory, sentenced to death for surrendering Fort Detroit; pardoned
  • Jean Lafitte and Pierre Lafitte and the Baratarian Pirates for past piracy, granted due to their assistance during the War of 1812; granted February 6, 1815.[6]

James Monroe[edit]

Democratic-Republican President James Monroe pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 419 people.[2] Among them are:

  • Numerous individuals convicted of piracy.[7]

John Quincy Adams[edit]

Democratic-Republican President John Quincy Adams pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 183 people.[2] Among them are:

  • Captain L. O. Helland – arrested for having more passengers on board the vessel (Restauration) than were allowed by American law; pardoned
  • Wekau and Chickhonsic – Ho-Chunk leaders pardoned for their role in the Winnebago War[8]

Andrew Jackson[edit]

Democratic President Andrew Jackson pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 386 people.[2] Among them is:

  • George Wilson – convicted of robbing the United States mails. Strangely, Wilson refused to accept the pardon. The case went before the Supreme Court, and in United States v. Wilson the court stated: "A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which delivery is essential, and delivery is not complete without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered; and if it is rejected, we have discovered no power in this court to force it upon him." As such, rather than serve a sentence of 20 years Wilson was executed by hanging.

Martin Van Buren[edit]

Democratic President Martin Van Buren pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 168 people.[2] Among them are:

William Henry Harrison[edit]

Whig President William Henry Harrison was one of only two presidents who gave no pardons. This was due to his death shortly after taking office.

John Tyler[edit]

Whig President John Tyler pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 209 people.[2] Among them are:

  • Alexander William Holmes – sailor convicted of voluntary manslaughter (U.S. v. Holmes); pardoned

James K. Polk[edit]

Democratic President James K. Polk pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 268 people.[2] Among them is:

Zachary Taylor[edit]

Whig President Zachary Taylor pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 38 people.[2]

Millard Fillmore[edit]

Whig President Millard Fillmore pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 170 people.[2] Among them is:

  • Daniel Drayton and Edward Sayres – convicted in the Pearl incident (transporting slaves to freedom); pardoned

Franklin Pierce[edit]

Democratic President Franklin Pierce pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 142 people.[2]

James Buchanan[edit]

Democratic President James Buchanan pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 150 people.[2] Among them are:

Abraham Lincoln[edit]

Republican President Abraham Lincoln pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 343 people.[2] Among them are:

  • 264 of 303 Dakota Indians who attacked white settlers in the Great Sioux Uprising of 1862.[10]
  • Clement VallandighamCopperhead sentenced for disloyalty; sentence commuted, and deported to the Confederacy.[11]
  • Various men who enlisted in the army, but who were, among other circumstances, underage, bounty jumpers, or AWOL.[12]

Andrew Johnson[edit]

Democratic President Andrew Johnson pardoned about 7,000 people in the "over $20,000" class by May 4, 1866. More than 600 prominent North Carolinians were pardoned just before the election of 1864.[13] President Andrew Johnson pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 654 people.[2] Among them are:

Ulysses S. Grant[edit]

Republican President Ulysses S. Grant pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 1,332 people.[2] Among them are:

Rutherford B. Hayes[edit]

Republican President Rutherford B. Hayes pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 893 people.[2] Among them is:

James Garfield[edit]

Republican President James A. Garfield was one of only two presidents who gave zero pardons. This was due to his assassination shortly after taking office.

Chester A. Arthur[edit]

Republican President Chester A. Arthur pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 337 people.[2] Among them is:

  • Fitz John Porter – Court-martialed for his actions at Second Bull Run; sentence commuted

Grover Cleveland[edit]

Democratic President Grover Cleveland pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 1,107 (est.) people during his two, non-consecutive terms.[2] Among them are:

Benjamin Harrison[edit]

Republican President Benjamin Harrison pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 613 people.[2] Among them are:

Grover Cleveland[edit]

See list under first term.

William McKinley[edit]

Republican President William McKinley pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 918 (est.) people.[2] Among them are:

Theodore Roosevelt[edit]

Republican President Theodore Roosevelt pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 981 (est.) people.[2][16] Among them are:

  • Servillano Aquino – received death sentence for anti-American activities in the Philippines; pardoned after 2 years
  • Al Jennings – sentenced to life in prison for robbery; pardoned
  • Stephen A. Douglas Puter – convicted of land fraud; pardoned after 18 months so he could turn state's evidence

William Howard Taft[edit]

Republican President William Howard Taft pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 758 people.[2] Among them are:

Woodrow Wilson[edit]

Democratic President Woodrow Wilson pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 2,480 people.[2] Among them are:

  • George Burdick – a New York newspaper editor, who had refused to testify in federal court regarding the sources used in his article concerning the collection of customs duties. He pleaded the 5th amendment; President Wilson then granted him a full pardon for all of his federal offenses, which he refused. He continued to plead the 5th, at which he was sentenced by a federal judge for contempt. It was then that the Supreme Court reinforced the necessity of accepting a pardon to be valid; the federal judge had imprisoned Burdick on the grounds that he was claiming falsely his need for protection against self-incrimination.[17]
  • Frederick Krafft – convicted for alleged violation of the Espionage Act. Only person convicted under this law to receive a full executive pardon.

Warren Harding[edit]

Republican President Warren G. Harding pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 800 people.[2] Among them are:

Calvin Coolidge[edit]

Republican President Calvin Coolidge pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 1,545 people.[2] Among them are:

  • Marcus Garvey – convicted of mail fraud; sentence commuted and deported
  • Lothar Witzke – German spy and saboteur; pardoned and deported

Herbert Hoover[edit]

Republican President Herbert Hoover pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 1,385 people.[2] Among them are:

  • Warren T. McCray – Governor of Indiana convicted of Mail Fraud; pardoned after learning of the KKK's role in his arrest and conviction
  • Thomas W. Miller – conspiring to defraud the U.S. government; pardoned

Franklin D. Roosevelt[edit]

Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt granted 3,687 pardons in his four terms in office.[2] Among them are:

Harry Truman[edit]

Democratic President Harry S. Truman pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 2,044 people.[18] Among them are:

Dwight D. Eisenhower[edit]

Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 1,157 people.[18] Among them is:

  • Maurice L. Schick – military court-martial for brutal murder; death sentence commuted to life imprisonment, with the condition that he would never be released. Legal challenge went to the Supreme Court, questioning the constitutionality of the punishment "Life Imprisonment Without Parole". Decided in Schick v. Reed that to be so sentenced was constitutional. He was not paroled.

John F. Kennedy[edit]

Democratic President John F. Kennedy pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 575 people.[18] Among them are:

  • First-time offenders convicted of crimes under the Narcotics Control Act of 1956 – pardoned all, in effect overturning much of the law passed by Congress.

Lyndon B. Johnson[edit]

Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 1,187 people.[18] Among them are:

Richard Nixon[edit]

Republican President Richard Nixon pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 926 people.[18] Among them are:

  • Jimmy Hoffa – convicted of fraud and bribery – sentence commuted (with conditions) on December 23, 1971
  • Angelo DeCarlo – convicted of extortion; served 3 years; pardoned due to poor health

Gerald Ford[edit]

Republican President Gerald Ford pardoned, commuted, or rescinded the convictions of 409 people.[18] Among them are:

Jimmy Carter[edit]

Democratic President Jimmy Carter pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 566 people[18], and in addition to that pardoned over 200,000 Vietnam War draft dodgers.[20] Among them are:

Ronald Reagan[edit]

Republican President Ronald Reagan pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 406 people.[18] Among them are:

George H. W. Bush[edit]

Republican President George H. W. Bush pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 77 people.[18] Among them are:

Bill Clinton[edit]

Democratic President Bill Clinton pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 459 people.[18] Among them are:

  • Almon Glenn Braswell – convicted of mail fraud and perjury; pardoned
  • Henry Cisneros – Clinton's Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count for lying to the FBI, and was fined $10,000.
  • Roger Clinton, Jr. – brother of Bill Clinton. After serving a year in federal prison for cocaine possession.
  • John Deutch – Director of Central Intelligence, former Provost and University Professor, MIT
  • Edward Downe, Jr. – wire fraud, filing false income tax returns, and securities fraud; pardoned
  • Elizam Escobar – seditious conspiracy; pardoned
  • FALN – commuted the sentences of 16 members of FALN, a violent Puerto Rican terrorist group that set off 120 bombs in the United States, mostly in New York City and Chicago. The 16 were convicted of conspiracy and sedition and sentenced with terms ranging from 35 to 105 years in prison.
  • Henry O. Flipper – The first black West Point cadet was found guilty of "conduct unbecoming an officer" in 1882.
  • Patty Hearst – Bank robbery. Prison term commuted by Jimmy Carter. She was released from prison in 1979. She was fully pardoned by Clinton in 2001.
  • Rick Hendrick – NASCAR Team Owner & Champion; convicted of mail fraud; pardoned
  • Susan McDougal – partners with Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton in the failed Whitewater deal. Guilty of contempt of court, she served her entire sentence and was then pardoned.
  • Samuel Loring Morison – espionage and theft of government property; pardoned
  • Mel Reynolds – Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives. Bank fraud and obstruction of justice.
  • Marc Rich, Pincus Green – business partners; indicted by U.S. Attorney on charges of tax evasion and illegal trading with Iran.
  • Dan Rostenkowski – Democrat from Illinois, indicted for his role in the Congressional Post Office scandal and convicted of mail fraud. Served his entire sentence, then pardoned.
  • Fife Symington III – Republican Governor of Arizona convicted of bank fraud; pardoned.[23]

George W. Bush[edit]

Republican President George W. Bush pardoned, commuted or rescinded the convictions of 200 people.[18] Among them are:

  • José Compeán and Ignacio Ramos – Two US Border Patrol agents who wounded drug smuggler Osvaldo Aldrete Dávila and tried to cover up the incident received commutation.[24]
  • John Forté – Hip-hop singer and songwriter sentenced for smuggling cocaine was commuted.[25]
  • Lewis "Scooter" Libby – Assistant to President George W. Bush and Chief of Staff to Dick Cheney was convicted of perjury in connection with the CIA leak scandal involving members of State Department who 'outed' CIA agent Valerie Plame. Libby received commutation, not a full pardon.
  • Issac Robert Toussie – Convicted of making false statements to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; pardoned and the pardon revoked one day later
  • Charles Winters – Posthumous pardon for smuggling three B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers to Israel in the late 1940s

Barack Obama[edit]

Democratic President Barack Obama pardoned 212 people and commuted the sentences of a further 1,715 people.[26] Among them are:

  • James Cartwright, pleaded guilty to giving false statements to federal investigators and was awaiting sentencing.[27]
  • Dwight J. Loving, sentenced to death for killing two taxi drivers. Loving's sentence was commuted to life without parole.[28]
  • Chelsea Manning, sentenced to 35 years in prison for providing classified documents to WikiLeaks.[29]
  • Willie McCovey, pleaded guilty to tax evasion in 1995 and received two years probation and a $5,000 fine.[30]
  • Ian Schrager, pleaded guilty to tax evasion in 1979 and received three and a half years in prison and a $20,000 fine. [31]
  • Oscar López Rivera, sentenced to 55 years in prison for seditious conspiracy, use of force to commit robbery, interstate transportation of firearms, and conspiracy to transport explosives with intent to destroy government property, and subsequently to an additional 15 years for attempted escape.[32]

Donald Trump[edit]

Incumbent Republican President Donald Trump has pardoned one person and commuted one person's sentence as of December 30, 2017:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Constitutional Topic: Presidential Pardons". Retrieved February 4, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad Ruckman, Jr., P. S. (November 4, 1995). "Federal Executive Clemency in United States". Archived from the original on March 26, 2011. Retrieved March 19, 2011. 
  3. ^ Josh Clark. "How Presidential Pardons Work". Retrieved August 27, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Presidential Pardons". Jurist Legal Intelligence. Archived from the original on July 24, 2010. Retrieved August 27, 2012. 
  5. ^ Slack, Charles (2015). Liberty's First Crisis: Adams, Jefferson, and the Misfits Who Saved Free Speech. Atlantic Monthly Press. p. 232. ISBN 978-0802123428. 
  6. ^ Ingersoll, Charles Jared (1852). History of the second war between the United States of America and Great Britain: declared by act of Congress, the 18th of June, 1812, and concluded by peace, the 15th of February, 1815. 2. Lippincott, Grambo & Co. pp. 82–83. 
  7. ^ Preston, Daniel (2000). A Comprehensive Catalogue of the Correspondence and Papers of James Monroe [Two Volumes]. ABC-CLIO/Greenwood. pp. 788ff. ISBN 978-0-313-31426-1. 
  8. ^ Hall, John W. (2009). Uncommon Defense: Indian Allies in the Black Hawk War. Harvard University Press. p. 92. ISBN 0-674-03518-6. 
  9. ^ "President James Buchanan, on His Next to Last Day in Office, Pardons a Judge". Shapell Manuscript Collection. SMF. 
  10. ^ "Abraham Lincoln: Deciding the Fate of 300 Indians Convicted of War Crimes in Minnesota's Great Sioux Uprising". June 12, 2006. Retrieved August 27, 2012. 
  11. ^ p. 34, Vallandigham, Clement Laird. The Trial Hon. Clement L. Vallandigham by a Military Commission: and the Proceedings Under His Application for a Writ of Habeas Corpus in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Southern District of Ohio. Cincinnati, OH: Rickey and Carroll, 1863.
  12. ^ "Abraham Lincoln Exercises Clemency". Shapell Manuscript Collection. SMF. 
  13. ^ Franklin, John Hope (1961). Reconstruction After the Civil War. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. pp. 33–34. 
  14. ^ Johnson, Andrew. (December 25, 1868). Proclamation 179 – Granting Full Pardon and Amnesty for the Offense of Treason Against the United States During the Late Civil War. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
  15. ^ Benjamin Harrison (January 4, 1893). "Proclamation 346 – Granting Amnesty and Pardon for the Offense of Engaging in Polygamous or Plural Marriage to Members of the Church of Latter-Day Saints". Retrieved August 27, 2012. 
  16. ^ More are listed at the Presidential pardons page at Almanac of Theodore Roosevelt.
  17. ^ United States Supreme Court. "Burdick v. United States 236 U.S. 79 (1915)". 
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Presidential Clemency Statistics: 1900 to Present". US Department of Justice – Office of the Pardon Attorney. October 10, 2013. Retrieved October 10, 2013. 
  19. ^ Brace, Ernest C. (February 23, 1988). "A CODE TO KEEP: The True Story of America's Longest-Held Civilian Prisoner of War in Vietnam by Ernest%20C. Brace | Kirkus". Retrieved June 5, 2013. 
  20. ^ a b Andrew Glass (January 21, 2008). "Carter pardons draft dodgers Jan. 21, 1977". Politico. Retrieved August 27, 2012. 
  21. ^ a b Ingram Chronicles, Forbes, June 9, 1999
  22. ^ "Federal Presidential Pardon". Levin & Zeiger LLP. April 25, 2010. Retrieved August 27, 2012. 
  23. ^ Ken Rudin (January 26, 2001). "I Beg Your Pardon". Retrieved August 28, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Statement of U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton Following Today's Oral Argument Before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Re: United States of America V. Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean" (PDF) (Press release). U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Texas. December 3, 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 14, 2008. Retrieved December 8, 2007. 
  25. ^ Lisa Rose (November 30, 2008). "Talent and friends get singer John Forte out of jail". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved August 28, 2012. 
  26. ^ Allie Malloy (December 20, 2016). "Obama grants clemency to 231 individuals, largest single day act". CNN. Retrieved December 20, 2016. 
  27. ^ Savage, Charlie (20 December 2017). "Obama Pardons James Cartwright, General Who Lied to F.B.I. in Leak Case" – via 
  28. ^ "Obama commutes death sentence for ex-soldier from Texas". 
  29. ^ Savage, Charlie (January 17, 2017). "Obama Commutes Bulk of Chelsea Manning's Sentence". The New York Times. Retrieved January 17, 2017. 
  30. ^ "Willie McCovey pardoned by President Barack Obama". January 17, 2017. Retrieved January 18, 2017. 
  31. ^ Nir, Sarah Maslin (20 December 2017). "On Obama's Pardon List: A Hotel Magnate Who Owned Studio 54" – via 
  32. ^ Levin, Sam (January 17, 2017). "Obama commutes sentence for political prisoner Oscar López Rivera". The Guardian. Retrieved January 17, 2017. 
  33. ^ Hirschfeld, Julie; Haberman, Maggie (August 25, 2017). "Trump Pardons Joe Arpaio, Who Became Face of Crackdown on Illegal Immigration". 
  34. ^ "Breaking News: Sholom Rubashkin Has Been Freed From Prison". 20 December 2017.