President Biden's three pardons and 75 sentence commutations announced this week are “welcome but a bit curious,” Margaret Love, U.S. Pardon Attorney from 1990 to 1997, tells the Washington Post. Love, who has successfully represented numerous people with federal convictions in the clemency process, said that the two drug cases that led to pardons “are pretty much indistinguishable from a large number of cases that are pending — some for more than a decade. The criteria for their selection is simply not clear to me.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden was focused on people who had less than four years to serve. She said Tuesday’s action was only a first step, to be followed by other pardons and commutations.
Among those pardoned was Abraham Bolden Sr., 87, who was the first Black person on a presidential Secret Service detail, serving during John F. Kennedy’s presidency. In 1964, Bolden was charged with trying to sell a copy of a Secret Service file. Bolden has maintained his innocence and argued that he was a target because he exposed racism prevalent in the 1960s in the Secret Service. Biden also pardoned Betty Jo Bogans, 51, of Houston. Bogans was convicted in 1998 of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine after trying to transport drugs for her boyfriend and his accomplice, neither of whom were detained or arrested. She had no prior record when she was given a seven-year prison term. Biden pardoned Dexter Eugene Jackson, 52, who did not sell marijuana but was convicted of allowing dealers to use his pool hall. Jackson, of Athens, Ga., later turned his pool hall into a cellphone repair business that gave high school students work experience.