Justice Department Names New Pardon Attorney

A top drug prosecutor has been named to head the Justice Department office that recommends presidential pardons, filling a post opened earlier this year after his predecessor was accused of racism and mismanagement.

Ronald L. Rodgers, chief of the department's Drug Intelligence Unit and a former Marine Corps lawyer, will head up the Pardon Attorney's office. An inspector general's report last year concluded the office suffered from a poisonous work environment, in part because of allegations directed at its former chief, Roger Adams.

Adams voluntarily left the post earlier this year and now works in the general counsel's office at the Justice Department's management division.

The pardon attorney's office reviews more than 1,000 applications for clemency each year and prepares a recommendation on each for the president. It had an estimated backlog of 3,055 applications as of Oct. 1, up from 2,255 a year earlier, according to data included in the Bush administration's 2009 budget request.

Rodgers is a 1977 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, and a 1983 graduate of the University of Dayton School of Law, graduating summa cum laude. He also attended the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College from 1989 to 1990, the Justice Department said.