Danville man seeking to change the presidential pardon application process

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DANVILLE (WSLS10) - Rodney White now spends his days sitting behind a desk at the Virginia Workforce Center where he works as an adult career coach for Danville Community College.

But up until about 10 years ago, he was sitting in a jail cell serving more than 15 years of an 18 year sentence.

"I sold drugs. I was a drug dealer," White admitted.

He has now enlisted the help of the Wake Forest University Law School to fill out the 23 page application for a presidential pardon.

"When I go in for that job interview, when I go in and I have to explain about my felony, I can always set that pardon on the table and say 'hey, I know you don't know me and I know you're taking a chance on me as a felon, as a convicted felon, but look at this. Consider this in light of that,'" White explained.

For White, the more important challenge is changing the pardon process. He says he was inspired to pursue this change when he realized how much work was involved in applying for a pardon.

"We must make the process of forgiveness much easier," he emphasized. "We must allow people who have made mistakes to have a process, a simple process, to show the good things that they've been doing in their communities."

In order to get President Obama to consider changing the process, White has to collect 100,000 electronic signatures by May 12th. So far, he has around 300.

One of those signatures belongs to Vicky Cruz.

"I think what Rodney is doing is admirable; to point out the faults in the system," Cruz said.

White says even if he doesn't get the signatures or the pardon, he's still happy that attention is being brought to the issue.

Once the pardon is submitted, President Obama will have until his last day in office to make a decision.

To sign the petition, click here.

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