30 March 2009

U.S. Justice Dep't won't process presidential pardon applications of non-resident U.S. citizens and former permanent residents

The U.S. Department of Justice has a "well established policy" to not process presidential pardon applications from non-residents of the United States according to Pardon Attorney Ronald L. Rodgers. On 18 March 2009, Mr. Rodgers wrote to me here in Australia informing me of the policy. I have since sent a Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of the policy. (If it's true that DOJ has a new FOIA policy as reported here, then maybe within this year I'd be able to post the "well established policy" of non-processing of pardon applications for public viewing.) It appears this policy applies to both former lawful residents of the United States who are not citizens as well as to actual American citizens living abroad.

In 2008 roughly 37,000 non-U.S. citizens were serving in the U.S. Armed Forces according to U.S. Congressional statistics. (See American Forces Press Service news article here.) If you are a lawful resident and convicted of a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice not only may you be subjected to deportation, but if deported and you apply for a presidential pardon your application won't be processed. Conversely, if you are an American citizen and you've been convicted by a court-martial you may want to apply for a pardon before you move abroad otherwise it also won't be processed.

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