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Chelsea Manning: 5 Other Notable Commutations And Pardons

It's an unlikely list...

18/01/2017 12:42 | Updated 18 January 2017

On Tuesday President Barack Obama shortened the prison sentences of 209 people and granted pardons to another 64.

Among these was the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s 35-year sentence for leaking classified government and military documents to WikiLeaks.

Now instead of 2045, Manning will be freed on 17 May. She was known as Bradley Manning at the time of her 2010 arrest and has attempted suicide twice in the last year.

Here are five other notable pardons and commutations made by US Presidents. 

  • Richard Nixon
    Historical via Getty Images
    In 1974 President Gerald Ford pardoned his predecessor Richard M Nixon, for his involvement in the Watergate scandal.  

    The scandal stemmed from a break-in at the Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate office complex in Washington DC in 1972.  

    White House tape recordings revealed Nixon knew about and may have even authorised the break-in and wiretapping of the offices.  

    Nixon resigned, thus avoiding having to face impeachment and removal from office.  Many historians cite the pardon as the main reason Ford failed to win another term.
  • Patty Hearst
    Bettmann via Getty Images
    At the age of 19, media heiress Patty Hearst was kidnapped in the 1970s by the radical Symbionese Liberation Army.  

    She eventually joined the group and helped them rob a bank, but was captured and convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison. She had served 21 months when President Jimmy Carter commuted her sentence in 1979.  

    Her conviction remained on record until she was pardoned by President Bill Clinton in 2001.
  • Vietnam War draft dodgers
    David Fenton via Getty Images
    In 1977, President Carter pardoned most Vietnam War draft dodgers (but not military deserters), without a requirement of public service.

    It followed his predecessor President Gerald Ford’s amnesty, which called for draft dodgers and military deserters to turn themselves in by 31 January, 1975 and reaffirm their allegiance to the US by serving two years working in a public service job.  

    Pictured are a military policeman and army personnel standing guard at the gated entrance of the Fort Dix stockade at Fort Dix Army Base, Fort Dix, New Jersey, 1969. Above the entrance hangs a sign that reads 'Obedience to the law is freedom.' Throughout the Vietnam draft period, hundreds of draft dodgers were imprisoned in the stockade while anti-war protestors showed their support outside the base.
  • Jimmy Hoffa
    Bettmann via Getty Images
    Hoffa was an American labor union leader who served as the President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Union from 1958 to 1971.  

    In 1967, Hoffa was sentenced to 13 years in prison for jury tampering and fraud, but refused to give up the Teamsters presidency. After he quit the job in 1971, he was pardoned by President Nixon. He vanished in 1975.  

    No trace of Hoffa has ever been found and no one has ever been charged in the case, though investigators have long suspected he was killed by the mob to keep him from reclaiming the Teamsters presidency after he got out of prison.
  • Dwight Loving
    Handout
    Dwight J Loving, a former army private whose death sentence for the murders of two taxi drivers in Fort Hood would have made him the first military execution in over 50 years was commuted to life imprisonment without parole by President Obama.  

    The conditions of the commutation specify that Loving will be unable to appeal his conviction or be eligible in any way for release in the future.  

    In 1996, the US Supreme Court, in an appeal by Loving, upheld the death penalty, ruling that President Ronald Reagan in 1994 properly enacted a key section aimed at helping jurors decide who deserves capital punishment.
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