Well I have to admit this is a shock. I figured Bush would throw out a buncha pardons for his cronies and whatnot, but to pardon a rapper was a bit out of anyone's estimation.
John Forte who has worked with the Fugees and other hip hop artists, was convicted of drug trafficking because he had agreed to take a couple briefcases of liquid cocaine through an airport, and he got arrested. Despite this being his first offense, the mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenses, put him in prison for 14 years.
That ended today. Good to see the man is coming home to his family. And I never thought I'd say this, but Good job President Bush. You did a good thing today.
To be sure, I am not in any way, shape or form approving of what he did. I do not like drugs, and have no sympathy for drug dealers. However, this man was not a drug dealer. He made a mistake and he's paid with seven years of his life. The crime in the situation that is not being talked about (and allegedly one of the main reasons that he got the pardon) was the unjustness of the Mandatory Minimum sentencing when it comes to 1st time offenders.
courtesy of MSNBC.COM
Bush also commuted the prison sentences of John Edward Forte of North Brunswick, N.J., and James Russell Harris of Detroit, Mich. Both were convicted of cocaine offenses.
Forte, a well-known hip hop artist, worked with the Fugees, Wyclef Jean and Herbie Hancock.
Pardon orders never give a reason, but NBC News' Pete Williams reported that in Forte's case, it is likely the mandatory minimum sentences required in drug cases. Here's how fans of Forte's put it on a Web site dedicated to him:
"John Forte's life was forever changed in July of 2000. He agreed to transport a package, and in turn was arrested on a drug trafficking charge. He did not accept the plea bargain offered him, as he maintained that he was innocent of the charges against him.
"In 2001, John Forté stood trial in a Texas court and was convicted of this non-violent crime. It was his first offense. Due to the outdated mandatory minimum sentencing laws currently in place, he received the only prison term available for the judge to hand down — 14 years in a federal penitentiary. John is not eligible to be released until he is at least 38 years old."
Under the Constitution, the president’s power to issue pardons is absolute and cannot be overruled.