Dwyer was permitted to continue his position as state Treasurer until sentencing and, on the day of Jan. 22, 1987 he committed his final abuse of that position by calling a televised press conference during which he committed suicide on live television. This was a big case in PA and, since many expected Dwyer to resign during the press conference, viewership was expected to be high. The fact that much of PA was dealing with a huge snowstorm also increased viewership. Dwyer had a sizable audience for his final act and, I'm sure, anyone unfortunate enough to see the spectacle (understand, this was in the days before we were desensitized to the grotesque by so-called "Reality" TV) probably remember it well.
I was not a lawyer, but I certainly knew that a request of this nature was "above my pay grade." I told Budd that I would be happy to get the details of the process for him, specifically noting that it was impossible for me to promise presidential pardons to anyone. I brought the request to my immediate boss, Mitch Daniels (now the governor of Indiana). I was given the OK to check with the White House Counsel's Office to get information on pardon procedure and relay that - and only that - to Budd. There could be no promises made.
I mentioned something else to Daniels. I knew Budd well enough to feel very uncomfortable with his tone of voice. "The man on the phone," I said, "does not sound like the Budd Dwyer I know." Daniels nodded sympathetically and encouraged me to get Dwyer his answer right away, which I did.
Budd took the news of the process - the appeal for review had to be made to the Department of Justice, not the president - calmly. While he had the right to appeal and could receive a pardon if his case were approved, this could take years. Certainly this would not happen before his impending sentencing, now only days away.
In this morning's editorial, Lord sums up his piece with a request to pardon Bud Dwyer:
If anyone deserves a pardon - mercy - from the president of the United States, it should, finally, be Budd Dwyer. Let him rest in peace.He doesn't indicate there is evidence that exculpates Dwyer or provide any rationale for the "need" for a pardon except to note that Dwyer professed his innocence, was "broken" by his conviction and inability to get pardoned prior to sentencing.
As I read the article this morning, the only words that came to mind were "you have got to be shitting me!" Dwyer blew his brains out on live TV. He called a press conference to do it and the whole thing was done on a day in which much of the state was in the midst of one heck of a snow storm so quite a few small children ended up seeing this horrific display. This was Dwyer's last act and the only reason to commit this act so publicly would be to hurt others in a sad attempt to martyr himself. If his suicide were only to ensure his wife could keep his pension in addition to avoiding any jail time, he could have killed himself in private.
Be sure, Dwyer's last act was not just a cowardly act to avoid taking responsibility for his actions and paying his debt to society, it was a heinous one in which he intentionally punished others because he was caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar. Sorry Mr. Lord, but the callousness & public nature of Dwyer's suicide renders him exceptionally unqualified for a pardon.
Tags: Presidential pardon Pennsylvania politics corruption Budd DwyerSphere: Related Content