- (Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)
On Friday, President Barack Obama issued pardons for 17 people, the first such pardons since 2011, with most being freed after committing minor offenses.
The 17 individuals who were let go were from 13 different states and had been sentenced for crimes that included falsely altering a money order, unauthorized acquisition of food stamps, drug violations and possession of an unregistered firearm.
There was no national criminal icon on the list that was released by the White House and some of the crimes did not even warrant a jail sentence. One such woman from North Carolina was sentenced to two years' probation and 100 hours of community service for illegally distributing satellite cable decryption devices.
When asked, the White House did not offer any details or reasoning as to why these particular 17 individuals were selected to receive a presidential pardon from a President who, historically speaking, has issued a small number of pardons.
Obama issued his first pardons in December 2010 when nine people, convicted of offenses such as drug possession, counterfeiting and mutilating coins, were given their freedom back.
The president also granted pardons on two separate occasions in 2011 that included eight people who were set free in May of that year and five people given their marching orders in November.
Some of those pardoned included Lynn Marie Stanek of Tualatin, Ore., who was sentenced to six months in jail and five years' probation that included she serve no more than a year in residence at a community treatment center. She had unlawfully used a communication facility to distribute cocaine.
Larry Wayne Thornton of Forsyth, Ga., was freed after he was sentenced to four years of probation for possession of an unregistered firearm and possession of a firearm without a serial number.
And Donna Kaye Wright of Friendship, Tenn., was granted her freedom after being sentenced to 54 days in prison and three years' probation for embezzlement and misapplication of bank funds.