Could Bush pardon Osama?

If the Bush Administration were to capture Osama bin Laden and subsequently try him: if Osama were convicted, would Bush have the authority to pardon Osama bin Laden of any crimes? All crimes?

Sure. Any crimes that could be prosecuted in America. Which probably doesn’t include the set of all crimes.

Well, the POTUS could pardon Osama for any crimes under U.S. federal law, but I think Osama could still wind up on the hook for several thousand counts of conspiracy to commit murder in the State of New York.

(IANAL. I am not Osama bin Laden’s lawyer. This is not legal advice, in the unlikely event Osama bin Laden reads this message board.)

The President cannot pardon criminals convicted in state courts for crimes against a state? I did not know that.

Nope. Only “crimes against the United States” which means federal crimes. Every state and territory has some pardon or clemency power, though, usually vested in the Governor or some sort of clemency board.

I don’t know why, but I misread the OP as Obama and wondered what crime he needed to be pardoned for.

Can’t ever see any President pardoning Bin Laden, it would be political suicide.

I can’t see any governors of New York, Virginia or Pennsylvania doing that either, so we can rule that one right out.

Curse you Fox News!

And also, perhaps, Ted Kennedy.

If Bush really wanted to let Osama off the hook, wouldn’t it be easier for him to just divert the attention off of the search for him and on to some other diversion, allowing him to escape? Then he wouldn’t have to deal with all the controversy when he pardoned him.

What? It was just a hypothetical…

sure he could, but he never would. that would be completely retarded to pardon a brutal thug who was behind the senseless killing of innocent americans. We didn’t do anything to deserve al qaeda’s wrath. Those people are warped and twisted in their irrationalizations…

Come on, people. The OP is asking about the hypothetical limits of the ability of the President to grant clemency, not about the likelihood of Osama being pardoned.

Political suicide? Thinking of the number of people who would be pissed off, I suspect it would be actual suicide.

Why is this question so common? This is far from the first time I’ve seen it - not even the first time I’ve seen it here on the SDMB. What are you getting at, OP?

I originally asked this question almost three weeks ago, along with a companion thread in Great Debates. I was mostly getting at satisfying my own curiosity and I really think this was answered in the first four responses.

No, but he could offer him a limited partnership in the awl bidness.

Given that the question was adequately answered weeks ago, and that the most recent posts are have not contributed any significant new information, I’m going to close this.

Colibri
General Questions Moderator