Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Challenges. Discussion »
Why We Can't
WHITE HOUSE - In late September the White House announced on its "We the People" portion of website, the ability for citizens to approach the Obama Administration with an issue or concern using a petition.
The Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee, in turn, posted a petition in favor of granting clemency to Leonard Peltier is now on the "We the People" portion of the White House website that required 5,000 signatures within 30 days to qualify for a response.
Here is the response emailed last evening from the White House:
Thank you for signing the petition "Grant Clemency to Native American activist Leonard Peltier without delay." We appreciate your participation in the We the People platform on WhiteHouse.gov.
Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution gives the President the authority to grant "Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States." For more than 100 years, Presidents have relied on the Department of Justice and its Office of the Pardon Attorney for assistance in the exercise of this power. Requests for executive clemency for federal offenses should be directed to the Pardon Attorney, who conducts a review and investigation, and prepares the Department's recommendation to the President. Additional information and application forms are available on the Pardon Attorney's website.
The President takes his constitutional power to grant clemency very seriously, and recommendations from the Department of Justice are carefully considered before decisions are made. The White House does not comment, however, on individual pardon applications. In accordance with this policy and the We the People Terms of Participation-which explain that the White House may sometimes choose not to respond to petitions addressing certain matters-the White House declines to comment on the specific case addressed in this petition.
Peltier is serving a life sentence in the US Penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. He was convicted of the 1975 murders of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge Reservation. He was convicted in 1977. Peltier is considered to be a political prisoner of war by many American Indians throughout the United States and others worldwide. Through the years, Peltier's supporters have included: the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa and Bishop Desmond Tutu, among other prominent names.
posted November 19, 2011 9:55 am est
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