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December 28, 2020

Noticing the many regular forgotten folk so far left behind in Prez Trump's clemency capers

This new New York Times piece, headlined "Outside Trump’s Inner Circle, Odds Are Long for Getting Clemency," provides a useful reminder of who is largely being forgotten amidst Prez Trump's clemency largesse.  Here are excerpts:

A vast majority of the people to whom he granted pardons or commutations had either a personal or political connection to the White House, and it appears that only seven were recommended by the government’s pardon attorney, according to a Harvard University professor who is tracking the process....

Many who have applied have little chance of clemency under any circumstances.  But those with sentences they contend are excessive and people who have shown remorse and turned their lives around in prison are hoping for mercy.

“We just are hopeful that the president will extend the pardons to people who aren’t rich, wealthy and well-connected — and there’s certainly thousands of them,” said Holly Harris, a Republican who has worked with Mr. Trump on reforms as head of Justice Action Network, a bipartisan criminal justice reform organization.  “There’s certainly still time for the president to use this extraordinary power to help people who are really struggling.”...

Ferrell D. Scott, 57, hopes the president reviews his petition, which shows he is serving life for marijuana trafficking, a sentence that even the federal prosecutor who tried his case said he did not deserve.

John R. Knock, 73, also serving life on a nonviolent marijuana charge, was already rejected by President Barack Obama but tried again with Mr. Trump. He has been in prison since 1996.  “It’s kind of like a competition instead of a legal procedure,” said Mr. Knock’s sister, Beth Curtis, who has advocated on behalf of her brother and other people serving life sentences for marijuana charges.  “It’s a crony system.”

December 28, 2020 at 11:17 PM | Permalink


Sometimes advocating for clemency does seem like marketing but it has always been so.

We need to think about more mercy and compassion rather than focus on why it should not be granted. We have hope for many more. It is fiscally responsible and just.

Hamilton is correct: Our criminal code is so severe that without mercy it is cruel. We need to encourage mercy where ever it exists.

"Humanity and good policy conspire to dictate, that the benign prerogative of pardoning should be as little as possible fettered or embarrassed. The criminal code of every country partakes so much of necessary severity, that without an easy access to exceptions in favor of unfortunate guilt, justice would wear a countenance too sanguinary and cruel."

Posted by: beth curtis | Dec 29, 2020 7:17:41 PM

I continue to pray for a commutation for my friend Sholam Weiss, who is serving the longest white collar, non-violent sentence in American history -- 835 years. Interestingly, Mr. Weiss, who owned a major plumbing supply business on Brooklyn, N.Y. and was a part owner of the club "Studio 54" in Manhattan, actually knows President Trump. He has already been incarcerated for about 19 years and is 68 years old (I think).

Posted by: Jim Gormley | Dec 30, 2020 11:05:12 AM

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