Attorney General Michael Mukasey today appointed Ronald Rodgers to serve as the next U.S. Pardon Attorney. Rodgers replaces Roger Adams, who resigned in January after an Office of Inspector General investigation into allegations of mismanagement found he made "highly inappropriate" racial remarks about a Nigerian petitioner and threatened retaliation against employees.
Helen Bollwerk, a former federal prosecutor who was Adams’ deputy, has been the acting chief of the office, which reviews requests for executive clemency and makes recommendations to the president via the deputy attorney general.
Clemency can take several forms, including a formal pardon, commutation of sentence, elimination of fines or restitution and reprieve. Rodgers has been with the department since March 1999, when he joined the drug intelligence unit of the Criminal Division’s narcotic and dangerous drug section.
He became unit director in 2005. Before joining Justice, Rodgers had a 22-year active-duty career in the U.S. Marine Corps. From 1995 to 1999, he served as chief military judge of the Navy-Marine Corps Trial Judiciary. There, he oversaw part of the proceedings against a Marines training jet crew that hit a ski lift cable in Italy in February 1998, killing 20 people.
Rodgers, whose recommendations led to the court martials of some of the crew, issued a report then casting "substantial doubt" on the possibility of convictions because of widespread errors by others in the incident that strained relations between Italy and the United States. The two pilots were acquitted the next year of involuntary manslaughter and negligent homicide.