Ethics: On Granting an Iranscam Pardon

A debate grows over the President's power vs. the public good

Thousands of criminal offenders routinely petition the President of the U.S. for a pardon. Provided they have served their jail terms, stayed clean for five to seven years, and filled in a four-page form explaining their case, a pardon may be forthcoming -- but the process is likely to take at least three years. Chances are, though, that if Oliver North and his co-defendants in the Iranscam scandal receive pardons, the deal will not happen quite that way. President Reagan will probably grant their petitions with the stroke of a pen, without a three-year wait and perhaps even without a trial.

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