Pubdate: Thu, 25 Dec 2008
Source: Bellingham Herald (WA)
Copyright: 2008 Bellingham Herald
Author: Peter Jensen
Bookmark: (Bush, George)


LYNDEN -- As the presidency of George W. Bush nears its final days, a 
number of high-profile convicts, including former track star Marion 
Jones and a former Louisiana governor, are seeking presidential pardons.

While Lynden resident Marie E. Eppens cannot, by most standards, be 
considered high-profile, Bush an-nounced Tuesday, Dec. 23, that he 
has pardoned her 1992 conviction of conspiracy to deal marijuana.

Eppens was one of 19 people Bush pardoned Tuesday before leaving for 
the holidays at Camp David.

Pardons were handed out to people with a variety of convictions, from 
gun and drug charges to mail and bank fraud.

The White House and the Department of Justice declined to say why 
Bush pardoned Eppens.

"The president carefully considered recommendations for pardons and 
commutations on a case-by-case basis," said White House spokesman Trey Bohn.

Eppens, a Nebraska resident at the time, pleaded guilty to the 
conspiracy charge in February 1992 in U.S. District Court in Lincoln, 
Neb. She was sentenced to 60 days work release, four months of home 
detention, 200 hours of community service and four years probation, 
according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The pardon wipes the conviction from Eppens' record, said department 
spokeswoman Laura Sweeney. Sweeney said Eppens requested the pardon 
in August 2003.

Eppens did not return calls to her home and office by deadline. A 
message at her office stated that she was on vacation. Eppens' 
attorney in Lincoln, Neb., Kirk E. Naylor, did not immediately return 
a phone call seeking com-ment. Well-known names were not on Bush's 
holiday pardon list.

In a gesture of forgiveness for an American considered a hero in 
Israel, Bush granted a pardon posthu-mously to Charles Winters, who 
broke the law to supply aircraft to Jews fighting in Israel's 1948 
war of independence.

Three others received pardons for drug convictions, and Bush issued a 
commutation for the prison sen-tence of an Iowa man convicted of 
possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute in 1996.

There have been pushes to get Bush to pardon former Louisiana Gov. 
Edwin Edwards, who was convicted in 2000 with four others in a scheme 
to rig riverboat casino licensing; disgraced track star Marion Jones, 
who lied about using steroids; Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, former 
U.S. Border Patrol agents who were convicted of shooting a drug 
smuggler in 2005 and trying to cover it up; and Michael Milken, junk 
bond king who was convicted of securities fraud.

With this latest batch, Bush has granted a total of 190 pardons and 
nine commutations. That's less than half as many as presidents Bill 
Clinton or Ronald Reagan issued during their two terms.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom