WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama used his power to pardon for the first time Friday, freeing nine people convicted in U.S. courts for cocaine and other offenses.
Four of the people receiving pardons were convicted of minor cocaine offenses, the Justice Department said. They included one military service member who was sentenced to two years confinement for offenses that included cocaine use, adultery and writing bad checks.
Bill Clinton pardoned 150 people during his eight years as president and George W. Bush 189. Obama's pardons in almost two years in office had previously been limited to Thanksgiving turkeys, The Hill reported.
Those Obama pardoned were generally sentenced to short prison terms or probation. In addition to cocaine use or possession with intent to distribute, the offenses involved included illegal possession of government property, liquor violations, making false statements to the Food and Drug Administration, passing counterfeit obligations and securities, and mutilating coins.