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The Champion

September-October 2017 , Page 47 

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White Collar Crime Policy: Strict Liability Crimes Keep US from Being ‘Nation of Second Chances’

By Kaitlin Bigger

Read more White Collar Crime Policy columns.

President Barack Obama left office on January 19, 2017, having granted clemency to 1,927 federal offenders, the highest number of presidential clemency grants in 64 years.1 However, the number of grants reflects only five percent of the 36,544 clemency requests received during President Obama’s two terms.2 The influx of clemency petitions filed with the Department of Justice’s Office of the Pardon Attorney from 2009 to 2017 was largely created by the Obama administration’s Clemency Initiative, which aimed to reduce the sentences of nonviolent, low-level federal offenders incarcerated for long prison terms under strict and often outdated laws.3 With the assistance of Clemency Project 2014, a nonpartisan working group of lawyers and advocates, over a thousand successful applicants received an opportunity to turn their lives into, as former White House Counsel W. Neil Eggleston said, “stories that demonstrate the successes that can be achieved by both individuals and soc

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