The Justice Files: Redemption

Justice Files

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) –  Lynn Barney will get a second chance after all.

After 18-years Barney has a clean record.

In one of former President Trump’s last actions he pardoned the criminal record of Barney.

“He’s a private guy he doesn’t show emotions,” said his wife Sarah. “But I know he’s really grateful.”

Barney’s thankful because his wife said he is whole again.

“It’s a game changer,” his wife said. “It’s a life changer for our family.”

It was while in his 20’s that Barney’s nearly two-decade nightmare began. Back then, he was busted for drugs and convicted in state court.

But in 2004, police found him with a gun. After the drug conviction, he was considered a felon making gun possession illegal. This time, Barney was charged in federal court and sentenced to 37-months in federal prison.

The federal conviction took away his rights, like voting and owning a gun. He was a marked man.

“It’s surreal,” Sarah Barney said. “It’s been a long road. It’s been a long process and you get marked on the forehead with an ‘S’.”

She said raising the family became difficult after his release from prison.

By law, some landlords often forbid felons from applying for housing. His wife says one landlord knew of his past but gave him a chance.

“It’s people like that that brings hope,” she said. “He just needs hope that things are going to get better and (he) can have a life that (he) wants to. (He) screwed up yes, but (he) shouldn’t have to pay for it for the rest of my life.”

In 2019, Barney got his state criminal record expunged and applied for clemency with the help of a Garfield County commissioner.

This past fall with the help of Senator Mike Lee and Congressman Chris Stewart, his federal charge was cleared through with the presidential pardon.

A former federal judge and University of Utah law professor said the pardon was based on Barney’s after he was released from prison.

“I think this is a pardon based on redemption to some extent,” said Paul Cassell. “It shows Mr. Barney has led an exemplary life for the past 15-years and Trump has decided to recognize that by wiping the slate clean for him.”

For Barney, it means never having to explain his past again and a new start for his family.

His wife said he is looking forward to begin hunting with his sons, much like he did with his own father.

She also said this serves as a reminder that the little guy can overcome the odds.

“It can happen for them,” she said. “He’s not like someone who has millions of dollars, things like that.  It can happen to the little guy too.”

Both Senator Lee and Representative Stewart said Barney deserved the pardon because he changed his life for the good. Senator Lee said the pardon was a “compassionate” decision made by the former president.

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