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TABLE OF CONTENTS


Overview

Agency History

George W. Bush Biographical Sketch

Scope and Contents of the Records

Arrangement of the Records

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Governor George W. Bush General Counsel executive clemency files, 1961, 1965, 1968, 1974, 1983-2000, bulk 1995-2000,

Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Texas Governor George W. Bush:

An Inventory of Governor George W. Bush General Counsel Executive Clemency Files Located at the George W. Bush Presidential Library, 1961, 1965, 1968, 1974, 1983-2000, bulk 1995-2000



Overview

Creator: Texas. Governor (1995-2000 : Bush)
Title: Governor George W. Bush General Counsel executive clemency files
Dates: 1961, 1965, 1968, 1974, 1983-2000
Dates: bulk 1995-2000
Abstract: These are clemency applications presented to Texas Governor George W. Bush by his General Counsel's office for prisoners or convicted felons out on parole wishing a pardon, asking to have their sentence commuted, asking for an emergency medical reprieve, or asking for a pardon/commutation under Senate Concurrent Resolution 26 (passed by the 72nd Legislature in 1991), which requires the Governor to focus special consideration upon pardon applicants whose crime arguably was a response to severe spousal abuse. The files contain a pardon application tracking form; an executive summary from the General Counsel (GC) to Bush stating a summary of the facts, evidence, proceedings, the Board of Pardons and Paroles recommendation, the GC recommendation, and the Governor's decision - deny or grant (these are initialed by the Governor); or memos with facts about the applicant, not including voting information. Dates covered are 1961, 1965, 1968, 1974, 1983-2000, the bulk dating 1995-2000. There are voting memos present for most cases, some that list multiple cases. These memos were sent to the governor and contain a minimum of facts about the case with the GC's recommendation (deny/grant). Also present may be notes about the case, pardon proclamations, correspondence of trial officials and attorneys with the governor and/or the Board of Pardons and Paroles (BPP), court records, BPP voting summaries, BPP case file materials, Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) inmate records, criminal histories, law enforcement records, press releases, clippings, and petitions for pardons based on innocence, such as DNA testing in old rape cases that exonerates the inmate.
Quantity: 1.5 cubic ft.
Location: The records are located at the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Dallas, Texas.
Language: These materials are written predominately in English .
Repository: Texas State Archives

Agency History

The governor of Texas is the chief executive officer of the state, elected by the citizens every four years. The duties and responsibilities of the governor include serving as commander-in-chief of the state's military forces; convening special sessions of the legislature for specific purposes; delivering to the legislature at the beginning of each regular session a report on the condition of the state, an accounting of all public money under the governor's control, a recommended biennial budget, an estimate of the amounts of money required to be raised by taxation, and any recommendations he deems necessary; signing or vetoing bills passed by the legislature; and executing the laws of the state. The governor can grant reprieves and commutations of punishment and pardons, upon the recommendation of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, and revoke conditional pardons. He appoints numerous state officials (with the consent of the Senate), fills vacancies in state and district offices (except vacancies in the legislature), calls special elections to fill vacancies in the legislature, fills vacancies in the United States Senate until an election can be held, and serves as ex officio member of several state boards.

The office of governor was first established by the Constitution of 1845 and superseded the office of president of the Republic of Texas. The position now exists under authority of Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution of 1876 and Texas Government Code, Chapter 401. To be elected governor, a person must be at least thirty years old, a United States citizen, and a resident of Texas for at least five years preceding the election. In 1972, the term of office was extended from two to four years, effective in 1975. Since 1856 the governor has had the use of the Governor's Mansion.

In 1999 there were 198 full time equivalent employees in the Office of the Governor. Thirteen divisions outside of the Executive Office assist the governor in carrying out his functions: Administration, Appointments, Budget & Planning, Communications, General Counsel, Legislative, Policy, Scheduling, Criminal Justice Division, Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities, Office of Film, Music, Television and Multimedia Industries, Women's Commission, and Texas Council on Workforce and Economic Competitiveness.

The General Counsel position within the Texas Office of the Governor was created in October 1973 when the Executive Director of the Governor's Criminal Justice Division appointed an individual as General Counsel, to assist him in providing statute interpretations and in other matters relating to policies and procedures. Today the Office of the General Counsel is a separate division in the Governor's Office. During the Bush Administration, Alberto Gonzales served as General Counsel, succeeded in 1998 by Margaret Wilson.

Duties of the General Counsel include providing statute interpretations; tracking inmates on death row as their cases move through the judicial process including all appeals to the governor for commutations or stays of execution; handling pardon requests sent to the governor; reviewing proposed settlements, land patents, grant requests, contracts, easements, and deeds for the governor; analyzing proposed legislation and regulations for validity and legal effect; assisting appointments staff in determining eligibility and other legal issues related to proposed appointments; handling extradition and requisition matters; coordinating ethics guidelines and training for the governor's office; advising the governor on federal programs administered by the state; coordinating the governor's criminal justice policy with the governor's Policy Director; and providing legal advice and handling litigation filed against the governor or the Governor's Office, in conjunction with actions of the Attorney General on the governor's behalf.

(Sources include: Guide to Texas State Agencies, 9th and 10th eds., (1996 and 1999); the contents of the records; and versions of the Governor's Office web site during Governor Bush's term available on the Internet Archive at http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.governor.state.tx.us, accessed on March 3, 2009.)

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George W. Bush Biographical Sketch

George W. Bush served as governor of Texas from January 17, 1995 to December 21, 2000, resigning as governor in the middle of his second term to become president of the United States.

He challenged the incumbent governor, Democrat Ann Richards, running on promises to improve public education and to reform the juvenile justice system, welfare, and the state's tort laws -- the system under which an injured person may sue for damages. During the 74th Legislature in 1995, he worked with the Democrats who controlled both houses of the Texas legislature and managed to get bills passed that dealt with the four issues he had emphasized in his campaign. Bush was seen as pro-business and a consensus-builder.

Bush advocated and signed the two largest tax cuts to date in Texas history, totaling over $3 billion. To pay for the cuts, he sought (unsuccessfully) federal approval of a plan to privatize Texas' social services. Education reform was a priority throughout his terms, with legislation emphasizing local control of schools, higher standards, and a revised curriculum. Controversy has followed, with charter schools mired in financial scandals and protests against one test determining a child's promotion. After winning reelection in 1998, Bush began his bid for the presidency and was not as involved in the 76th Legislature in 1999.

George W. Bush was born July 6, 1946 in New Haven, Connecticut and grew up in Midland and Houston, Texas. He graduated from Andover Academy, and received a bachelor's degree from Yale University and a master's from Harvard Business School. He served as a pilot in the Texas Air National Guard. In 1978, Bush was defeated in a run for the U.S. Congress in West Texas. He was involved in energy exploration from the 1970s into the 1980s. From 1989 until his election as governor, Bush worked with the Texas Rangers baseball organization, leading a group of partners in purchasing the team, and then serving as managing general partner. He married Laura Welch in 1977; they have two daughters.

(Sources include: Versions of the Governor's Office web site during Governor Bush's term available on the Internet Archive at http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.governor.state.tx.us, accessed on March 3, 2009.)

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Scope and Contents of the Records

The general counsel handles pardon requests submitted to the Texas Office of the Governor. These are clemency applications presented to Texas Governor George W. Bush by his General Counsel's office for prisoners or convicted felons out on parole wishing a pardon, asking to have their sentence commuted, asking for an emergency medical reprieve, or asking for a pardon/commutation under Senate Concurrent Resolution 26 (passed by the 72nd Legislature in 1991), which requires the Governor to focus special consideration upon pardon applicants whose crime arguably was a response to severe spousal abuse. The files contain a pardon application tracking form; an executive summary from the General Counsel (GC) to Bush stating a summary of the facts, evidence, proceedings, the Board of Pardons and Paroles recommendation, the GC recommendation, and the Governor's decision - deny or grant (these are initialed by the Governor); or memos with facts about the applicant, not including voting information. Dates covered are 1961, 1965, 1968, 1974, 1983-2000, the bulk dating 1995-2000. There are voting memos present for most cases, some that list multiple cases. These memos were sent to the governor and contain a minimum of facts about the case with the GC's recommendation (deny/grant). Also present may be notes about the case, pardon proclamations, correspondence of trial officials and attorneys with the governor and/or the Board of Pardons and Paroles (BPP), court records, BPP voting summaries, BPP case file materials, Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) inmate records, criminal histories, law enforcement records, press releases, clippings, and petitions for pardons based on innocence, such as DNA testing in old rape cases that exonerates the inmate. The petitions often include medical reports, crime summaries (which may include the name of a rape victim), victim impact statements, etc.; most of those materials are confidential, as well as TDCJ inmate files, letters to the BPP, BPP case file material, law enforcement records, and criminal histories. See the Restrictions statement for further information about confidential records.

Files of prisoners denied pardons usually just have the pardon application tracking form, a voting memo, notes, and/or the executive summary from the GC to the governor. Usually multiple cases are filed together under the date the pardon was denied with all such cases being listed on the governor's voting memo.

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Arrangement of the Records

These records are arranged into two groups: Pardons granted, and Pardons denied. The Pardons granted files are in alphabetical order by the name of the inmate. The Pardons denied files are mostly ordered by date the pardon decision was made, in reverse chronological order, with a few files present for individual inmates.

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Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

Because of the possibility that portions of these records fall under Public Information Act exceptions including, but not limited to: social security numbers; common law privacy (V.T.C.A., Government Code, Section 552.101); names of recipients of social services (V.T.C.A., Human Resources Code, Title 2, Section 12.003 and/or V.T.C.A., Government Code, Section 552.101); email addresses (V.T.C.A., Government Code, Section 552.137); driver's license numbers (V.T.C.A., Government Code, Article 552.130); names of victims of sexual assaults (V.T.C.A., Government Code, Section 552.101); criminal histories prepared by the Department of Public Safety, information about inmates incarcerated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice received from the Board of Pardons and Paroles, and information created by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (V.T.C.A., Government Code, Section 552.101 (information confidential by law, Texas Government Code, Section 508.313)); crime victim impact statement (V.T.C.A., Government Code, Section 552.1325); and autopsy photographs (V.T.C.A., Code of Criminal Procedures, Article 49.25 [989a]), an archivist must review these records before they can be accessed for research. The records may be requested for research under the provisions of the Public Information Act (V.T.C.A., Government Code, Chapter 552). The researcher may request an interview with an archivist or submit a request by mail (Texas State Library and Archives Commission, P. O. Box 12927, Austin, TX 78711), fax (512-463-5436), email (Dir_Lib@tsl.state.tx.us), or see our web page (https://www.tsl.state.tx.us/requestgovernorbushrecords.html). Include enough description and detail about the information requested to enable the archivist to accurately identify and locate the information requested. (Note: The Governor's Office has requested that the State Archives contact the Public Information Coordinator for the Governor's Office when we receive a Public Information Act request for these records.) If our review reveals information that may be excepted by the Public Information Act, we are obligated to seek an open records decision from the Attorney General on whether the records can be released. The Public Information Act allows the Archives ten working days after receiving a request to make this determination. The Attorney General has 45 working days to render a decision. Alternately, the Archives can inform you of the nature of the potentially excepted information and if you agree, that information can be redacted or removed and you can access the remainder of the records.

Restrictions on Use

Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).

Technical Requirements

None.

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Index Terms

The terms listed here were used to catalog the records. The terms can be used to find similar or related records.
Personal Names:
Gonzales, Alberto R.
Wilson, Margaret A.
Corporate Names:
Texas. Office of the Governor. Office of the General Counsel.
Texas. Board of Pardons and Paroles.
Subjects:
Pardon--Texas.
Clemency--Texas.
Governors--Texas--Powers and duties.
Executive power--Texas.
Document Types:
Summaries--Texas--Pardon--1995-2000.
Memorandums--Texas--Pardon-1995-2000.
Functions:
Pardoning.

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Related Material

The following materials are offered as possible sources of further information on the agencies and subjects covered by the records. The listing is not exhaustive.

Texas State Archives
Texas, Office of the Governor, Criminal Justice Division, Records, 1973-1990, bulk 1987-1990, 28 cubic ft. (see the series General Counsel Executive Clemency files, 1978-1990, 5 cubic ft.)
Texas Governor Mark White, Records, 1947, 1962-1987, undated, bulk 1983-1986, 424.75 cubic ft. (see the series General Counsel files, 1947, 1962-1986, 4.3 cubic ft.)
Texas Secretary of State, Statutory Documents Section, Executive clemency records, 1840, 1845-2009, 110.68 cubic ft., 168 reels of microfilm (originals), 22 reels of microfilm (duplicates)
Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin
Ann W. Richards Papers, 1933-2000, about 1500 cubic ft. (specifically the General Counsel files)

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item), Texas Governor George W. Bush General Counsel executive clemency files. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information

Accession number: 2002/151

In December 2000, Governor George W. Bush designated the George Bush Presidential Library as the repository for the records from his tenure as Governor of Texas, under authority of Texas Government Code, Section 441.201. Shortly after he left office, the records were shipped to the Bush Library in College Station, Texas. Texas Attorney General John Cornyn ruled the records are state records subject to the Texas Public Information Act and the management of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission even after transfer to a federal facility (Opinion No. JC-0498, May 3, 2002). In July 2002 the records were transferred from the Bush Library to the Texas State Archives in Austin for preparation for research use. In June 2003, a memorandum of understanding signed by representatives of the National Archives and Records Administration, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, and George W. Bush replaced a January 2002 interim memorandum of understanding. The records were moved to the George W. Bush Presidential Library in February 2013.

Processing Information

Laura K. Saegert, February 2004

Finding aid updated and made DACS compliant by Tonia J. Wood, April 2013

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Detailed Description of the Records

 

Governor George W. Bush General Counsel executive clemency files, 1961, 1965, 1968, 1974, 1983-2000, bulk 1995-2000,
1.5 cubic ft.

Pardons granted
[The dates in parentheses in the folder titles are the dates the pardons were granted. This date is not present for all files.]
Box
2002/151-103 Burrell, Rebecca (9/5/96), 1996
Butler, A.B., Jr. (5/18/00), 2000
[File contains correspondence assigned the following unique number: 2001120082]
Byrd, Kevin James (10/9/97):
Packet from Board of Pardons and Paroles (BPP):
Responses from trial officials to BPP, BPP files, court records, 1985, 1997
[Contains possibly excepted information: response of trial officials, BPP files, social security numbers, criminal history]
Criminal history, victim information, 1985, 1991, 1997
[Contains possibly excepted information: criminal history, victim impact statement, common law privacy - name of rape victim]
Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) inmate records, 1985-1997
[2 folders]
[Folders 1 and 2 contain possibly excepted information: TDCJ records]
Letters to governor from trial officials, clippings, 1997
Letters to governor from attorneys and trial officials, clippings, 1997
Notes, TDCJ correspondence, memos, medical report of victim, correspondence with the governor's office, court records, 1997
[Contains possibly excepted information: medical records, common law privacy - name of rape victim]
Court records, 1997
[Contains possibly excepted information: common law privacy - name of rape victim]
Correspondence with the governor's office, clippings, 1997
Coulombe, Kevin (12/20/96), 1996
[Contains possibly excepted information: letter to Board of Pardons and Paroles]
Cox, Theodore Wade (3/6/96), 1994-1997
Criner, Ray (8/14/00), 2000:
Press release, executive summaries, memos, notes, 2000
BPP packet, 2000:
Executive summary, responses of trial officials to BPP, 2000
[Contains possibly excepted information: responses of trial officials]
Transcripts of testimony, [1990]
[3 folders]
Autopsy photo, DNA analysis, 2000
[Contains possibly excepted information: autopsy photo]
DNA analysis, continued; clippings; affidavit, 2000
Clippings, articles, 2000
[2 folders]
Case summaries from South Western Reporter, 1992
Case summaries from South Western Reporter, court records, notes, TDCJ records, 1990-2000
[Contains possibly excepted information: TDCJ records]
Dodson, Donald (10/11/95), 1995
Findley, Dwight, 1983-1995
Gariepy, Ronnie Mark:
[The rape victim recanted her testimony several years after the event, claiming to have made up the story, thus her name is not protected in these files.]
Notes, executive summary, court records, clippings, 1999-2000
Executive summary, notes, voting summary, criminal history, BPP voting transmittals, 2000
[Contains possibly excepted information: criminal history]
Court records, memos, executive summary, pardon tracking form, voting summary, 1999-2000
Court records, 1998-1999
[3 folders]
Law enforcement records, 1991-1992, 1999
[Contains possibly excepted information: law enforcement records]
Criminal history, attorney fee affidavit, correspondence with the BPP, 1999-2000
[Contains possibly excepted information: criminal history, letters to the BPP]
TDCJ records, BPP case files, 1992-1999
[2 folders]
[All folders contain possibly excepted information: TDCJ records, parole records]
Garza, Adan (1/21/99), 1998-1999
Hirsch, Robert (4/23/96), 1995-1996
[Contains possibly excepted information: letters to Board of Pardons and Paroles]
Izaguirre, Juan Rodriguez (7/12/00):
Notes, pardon tracking form, pardon proclamation, BPP voting summary, 2000
BPP voting transmittals, executive summary, voting memo, 2000
BPP case files, 2000
[Contains possibly excepted information: BPP records, medical records, criminal history]
TDCJ records, parole records, correspondence with BPP, 1996-2000
[Contains possibly excepted information: TDCJ records, parole records, letters to BPP]
Johnson, Don E. (7/9/96), 1994-1996
Jones, Henry Lee (5/10/96):
Memos, notes, executive summary, proclamation, 1996
TDCJ records, BPP case files, 1995-1996
[2 folders]
[Both folders contain possibly excepted information: TDCJ records, BPP case files]
McCoy, John S. (5/11/95), 1994-1995
Mahard, Helen Leigh (9/22/95), 1995
[Contains possibly excepted information: letters to BPP]
Micklitz, Fred (3/19/97) [empty]
Perez, Alex (5/18/00):
Pardon memo, pardon proclamation, criminal history, BPP voting summary, pardon application, correspondence with BPP, 1996-2000
[Contains possibly excepted information: criminal history, driver's license number, letters to BPP, BPP memoranda]
Pardon tracking form, correspondence with the governor's office, correspondence with BPP, 1996-2000
[File contains correspondence assigned the following unique number: 2004070108]
[Contains possibly excepted information: letters to BPP]
Correspondence with the governor's office, correspondence with BPP, criminal history, 1996-1999
[Contains possibly excepted information: criminal history, letters to BPP]
Raney, Steven H. (8/31/95), 1994-1996
Roa, Rosalinda (9/22/95), 1994-1995
Robinson, Anthony Todd (11/14/00), 2000
[Contains possibly excepted information: letter to BPP, common law privacy - name of rape victim]
Rutherford, Cynthia Roper (4/11/97), 1997
Salazar, Ben (11/20/97):
Letters to governor and BPP, 1997
[File contains correspondence assigned the following unique numbers: 9711050220, 9711070064]
[Contains possibly excepted information: letters to BPP]
Letter to BPP, attorney fee affidavit, DNA test results, responses of trial officials to BPP, court records, clippings, 1991, 1997
[Contains possibly excepted information: common law privacy - name of rape victim, letters to BPP, responses of trial officials]
TDCJ records, statutes, criminal history, 1992
[Contains possibly excepted information: TDCJ records, criminal history]
Sandoval, Manuel, 1992-1995
[Contains possibly excepted information: letters to BPP]
Sonntag, Larry (10/31/95), 1992-1995
Stewart, Sharon Denise (commutation of sentence), 1999-2000
[Contains possibly excepted information: TDCJ records]
Pardons denied
[The dates in parentheses in the folder titles are the dates the pardons were granted. This date is not present for all files. The last folder, for Renee Harris, was moved from the execution case files to this series, since it was a pardon request for a prisoner not on death row. The outcome of this case is not in the file.]
Box
2002/151-103 2000
[File contains correspondence assigned the following unique numbers: 2007280128, 2004040132]
(1999), 1994-1999
[3 folders]
[Folder 2 contains possibly excepted information: criminal history]
De Laney, John (9/4/97), 1997
Contreras, Oscar (9/3/97), 1996-1997
[Contains possibly excepted information: TDCJ records, responses to trial officials]
(12/20/96), 1996
(11/27/96), 1996
Box
2002/151-104 (11/13/96), 1996
(10/10/96), 1992-1996
(9/5/96), 1995-1996
[2 folders]
(7/9/96), 1995-1996
[2 folders]
Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 26, Murphy, Jalene Santos, 1996
(6/18/96), 1993-1996
[2 folders]
(5/31/96), 1995-1996
[8 folders]
(5/24/96), 1996
Villegas, Abel (Willett), (4/23/96), 1961, 1965, 1968, 1974, 1994-1996
[Contains possibly excepted information: letters to BPP]
(5/10/96), 1996
(4/23/96), 1996
Emergency medical reprieve (EMR), Torres, Magdaleno, 1993-1996
[Contains possibly excepted information: letter to BPP, medical records, TDCJ records, criminal history, parole records]
(3/4/96), 1996
[2 folders]
(2/21/96), 1995
(1/26/96), 1996
Miscellaneous SCR 26 information, 2000
SCR 26, Wardlow, Rebecca, (1/17/96), 1994-1996
[Contains possibly excepted information: common law privacy]
SCR 26, De la Garza, Leticia, (1/17/96), 1987-1988, 1994-1996
[2 folders]
[Both folders contain possibly excepted information: common law privacy]
[Folder 2 contains possibly excepted information: autopsy, law enforcement offense report]
Furloughs, Nino, Ivan, 1995-1996
EMR, Welch, Douglas, 1996
EMR, Roberts, James Michael, 1995
(12/22/95), 1995
(12/21/95), 1995
(12/11/95), 1995
(11/29/95), 1995
(11/22/95), 1995
(10/26/95), 1995
EMR, Alexander, Oris, (10/26/95), 1995
(10/11/95), 1995
(10/04/95), 1995
(9/21/95), 1995
(9/19/95), 1995
(9/7/95), 1995
(8/8/95), 1995
(6/19/95), 1995
(3/29/95), 1995
Westmoreland, Robert Carroll, 1994-1995
[Contains possibly excepted information: social security numbers]
Blue, Iris Urrey, 1995
[File contains correspondence assigned the following unique numbers: 9504240002, 9506230178]
Miscellaneous pardon information, 1991-1997
[Contains possibly excepted information: letters to BPP, social security numbers]
SCR 26, Harris, Renita Renee, 1990-1994
[3 folders]
[All folders contain possibly excepted information: common law privacy]
[Folders 2 and 3 contain possibly excepted information: medical records, social security numbers]

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