PRESS RELEASE FROM THE LAW OFFICE OF ROBIN FRAZER CLARK
JANUARY 17, 2017
PRESIDENT OBAMA GRANTS PARDON APPLICATION OF PETER HEIDGERD WHO WAS COURT MARTIALED FOR BEING GAY
Today at 4:15 p.m. EST, January 17, 2017, President Barak Obama granted the pardon application of Peter Heidgerd. Mr. Heidgerd was a veteran of the United States Army having served from July 7, 1983 until his court martial and conviction on July 17, 1989. Mr. Heidgerd was a Communications Staff Officer (CESO) in the3rd Armored Division and 8th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. During his deployment in Germany, Mr. Heidgerd entered into a consensual sexual relationship with another male, who was also in the U.S. Army. On October 11, 1988 the U.S. Army arrested Mr. Heidgerd for this relationship. He was charged with Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and Fraternization with an Enlisted Man. The U.S. Army court-martialed Mr. Heidgerd on July 17, 1989 and was convicted. He was immediately incarcerated at Fort Leavenworth Military Prison, until his release on April 26, 1990, with a Less Than Honorable Discharge.
Robin Frazer Clark, as counsel for Mr. Heidgerd, in pro bono capacity, filed an Application for Pardon on behalf of Mr. Heidgerd on October 10, 2011. Ms. Clark wrote countless letters on Mr. Heidgerd’s behalf to the Pardon Counsel for the Department of Justice, to the Secretary of the Army, Eric Fanning, to the Chief of the Criminal Law Division of the Office of the Judge Advocate General of the Department of the Army and to the President himself, advocating for a pardon for her client, Peter Heidgerd. Ms. Clark also sent countless social media pleas through Facebook and Twitter to the President and the Department of Justice over the six years she represented Mr. Heidgerd on his quest for a pardon. The Department of Justice official website says President Obama has granted 148 presidential pardons in his time in office, a number that exceeds the combined total of the last six presidents. In 2016, he pardoned 82 federal inmates, more than his seven previous years combined. Most of the pardons have been for drug offenders. Obama waited until December 2010, to grant his first pardons, giving nine people clemency. He followed that with 13 in 2011, 30 in 2013, 12 in 2014 and two in 2015 for a total of 66 pardons in seven years. It is unclear whether Mr. Heidgerd’s pardon is the only one President Obama has granted for a gay serviceman convicted of homosexuality while serving in the U.S. Army. Since President Obama’s repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) law that allowed gay individuals to serve in the United States Military as long as they didn’t openly disclose they were gay, the court-martialing of any service member for being gay should never again happen in the United States Military. As President Obama stated in July 2011 when he announced the repeal of DADT, “service members will no longer be forced to hide who they are in order to serve our country.”
When the United States Supreme Court struck down the “Defense of Marriage Act,” (DOMA) in United States v. Windsor, President Obama applauded the decision, calling DOMA “discrimination enshrined in law.” Statement by the President on the Supreme Court Ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, June 26, 2013. President Obama ended his statement with this: “The laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.”
So, today, January 17, 2017, Americans are, indeed, more free because Peter Heidgerd has been pardoned. The President of the United States has issued a formal acknowledgment of forgiveness of the conviction of Mr. Heidgerd for being simply who he was while in service to our Nation. This Presidential Pardon breathes life into the President’s words that “we are all more free.”
Robin Frazer Clark pursues justice for those who have personal injury claims as a result of being injured in motor vehicle wrecks, trucking wrecks, defective products, defective maintenance of roads, premises safety, medical malpractice and other incidents caused by the negligence of others. Ms. Clark is the 50th President of the State Bar of Georgia and a Past President of Georgia Trial Lawyers Association and has practiced law in Georgia for 28 years. Mrs. Clark is listed as one of the Top 50 Women Trial Lawyers in Georgia and is a Georgia Super Lawyer. Robin Frazer Clark~Dedicated to the Constitution’s Promise of Justice for All.