clemency

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Even the Judge Thinks This Woman's Sentence Is 'Idiotic'

He's now fighting for clemency for Lori Kavitz

(Newser) - Lori Kavitz's 24-year sentence for conspiracy to distribute meth has been called "idiotic, arbitrary, unduly harsh, and grossly unfair"—by the very man who imposed it. US District Court Judge Mark W. Bennett is one of thousands asking President Obama to pardon Kavitz, whose "major mistake... More »

Man Turns Down Obama's Offer to Get Out of Prison

Arnold Jones would rather stay longer in prison than enter drug treatment

(Newser) - Arnold Jones was one of more than 29,000 drug offenders who asked President Obama to commute their sentence. But when he was granted executive clemency in August, he turned it down. USA Today delved into the unusual story when it noticed the White House listed only 774 commuted sentences... More »

Obama to Free 42 More Inmates Serving Time on Drug Charges

He's commuted more sentences than the past 7 presidents combined

(Newser) - On Friday, President Obama announced 42 non-violent drug offenders—20 of them currently serving life sentences—will be released from prison in the coming year, the Huffington Post reports. According to a White House press release , they were put away "under outdated and unduly harsh sentencing laws" and "... More »

Clemency Under Obama Can Be a Cruel Lottery

'It was devastating'

(Newser) - President Obama's clemency program is a gift to dozens of nonviolent drug offenders, but it's a lump of coal for thousands more. The Washington Post takes a deep look into how clemency is affecting prisoners who remain behind bars, after 95 of their fellows were given a second... More »

Man Freed After 3 Decades in Prison Calls It 'Surreal'

He had his 100-year murder sentence commuted by Montana's governor

(Newser) - A Montana man who spent three decades behind bars for a murder he says he did not commit walked out of prison Friday after the governor granted his clemency request. Barry Beach, 53, told reporters gathered outside the Montana State Prison's front door that the moment was "surreal.... More »

Battered Woman to Stay in Jail Until 2030 for BF's Abuse

Tondalo Hall denied clemency in Oklahoma for not protecting kids from partner

(Newser) - Tondalo Hall wasn't accused of abusing her two young children but was handed a 30-year sentence for failing to protect them from her abusive boyfriend. Her partner, meanwhile, nabbed a plea deal and served just two years for breaking the ribs and femur of their 3-month-old infant; he was... More »

How the Pope Could Save This Killer on Death Row

Lidia Guerrero hopes Francis will intervene on behalf of son

(Newser) - When Lidia Guerrero met with Pope Francis in Rome last year, he told her he knew all about Guerrero's son, who has been on death row in Texas for 19 years. "I've prayed so much for that young man," she says Francis told her. The short... More »

Obama Doubles Drug Commutations in a Day

He shortens 22 'outdated' sentences

(Newser) - A bold move from the president dubbed " one of the least merciful " in US history: President Obama commuted the sentences of 22 drug offenders yesterday, more than doubling the number of commutations he has issued during his presidency, reports USA Today , which notes that it was the biggest... More »

Battered Woman Serving Longer Sentence Than Her Abuser

Convicted for 'allowing' ex to abuse their child

(Newser) - Tondalo Hall was allegedly being abused by her boyfriend, Robert Braxton Jr. Yet when Braxton broke the ribs and femur of their 3-month-old daughter, he served just two years in prison, while Hall was sentenced to 30 years for allowing the abuse to happen. She was one of 28 mothers... More »

Thousands of Drug Offenders Get New Shot at Clemency

White House calls for 'justice, fairness, proportionality'

(Newser) - Thousands of nonviolent drug offenders now serving long sentences in federal prisons could receive clemency from President Obama under a major Department of Justice overhaul. Attorney General Eric Holder announced yesterday that "a larger field of eligible individuals" will be eligible for clemency under new guidelines and the administration... More »

Assad May Be Offered Clemency Deal

Syrian leader could get invite to Geneva peace talks

(Newser) - To end the conflict in Syria, American and British officials are considering offering Bashar al-Assad safe passage to peace talks in Geneva and a chance to avoid being prosecuted for his regime's crimes against civilians if he gives up power, according to the Guardian . "It is hard to... More »

Troy Davis: I Want to Take a Polygraph Test

In effort to save him, Georgia Democrats urge prison strike

(Newser) - Troy Davis is hours from death, but he’s not giving up. The Georgia death row inmate, who claims he was wrongly convicted of killing a police officer in 1989, wants to take a polygraph test. "Mr. Davis believes he is innocent and he wants to show it,"... More »

Georgia Refuses to Spare Troy Davis' Life

Decision means tomorrow's execution will likely occur

(Newser) - Troy Davis will die tomorrow. Georgia's pardons board today rejected a last-ditch plea for clemency for the death row inmate, despite calls from the likes of Pope Benedict, Amnesty International, and Jimmy Carter for his sentence to be commuted. The panel announced its decision after hearing hours of testimony... More »

For Felon Mayor-Elect, Redemption Is Denied

Small town OK with past, Ariz. board isn't

(Newser) - Christopher Linder persuaded the people of a small Oklahoma town to elect him as their mayor despite his criminal past, but he couldn't persuade a clemency board in Arizona to scrub his felony convictions. The 33-year-old former gang member, convicted of transporting marijuana and taking part in a drive-by... More »

Hiker Can't Go Free: Iran

About-face on Ahmadinejad's clemency indicates internal friction

(Newser) - Iranian authorities abruptly halted plans to release an American woman today after more than a year in jail with two friends, dashing their mothers' hopes and pointing to the internal rivalries within Iran's leadership. The about-face was an embarrassment to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who had personally intervened to get Sarah... More »

Don't Bury Clemency with Clemmons

Mike Huckabee's decision was unfortunate, but just

(Newser) - Mike Huckabee's mercy in granting clemency to cop killer Maurice Clemmons was horribly betrayed, but that's no reason to reject the very notion of clemency, writes Michael Gerson. Strong arguments in favor of the role clemency plays in the justice system were made at the time of the Founding Fathers,... More »

Clemmons Not Huckabee's 1st Freed Killer

Ex-gov said to be a sucker for cons who got religion

(Newser) - Maurice Clemmons isn’t the first killer Mike Huckabee released as governor thanks to his religious sense of mercy. Huckabee granted more commutations and pardons than any governor in the 40 years before him. Some, no doubt, were warranted by Arkansas’ draconian drug laws, but many more came courtesy of... More »

Va. Gov Denies Clemency to DC Sniper

Muhammad will be executed tonight in Virginia

(Newser) - Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine has denied clemency for Beltway sniper John Allen Muhammad, clearing the way for Muhammad's execution at 9pm tonight. Muhammad, whose appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court yesterday, will die by lethal injection, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch . His 2002 shooting spree with younger accomplice Lee Boyd... More »

Scotland Defies US, Releases Lockerbie Bomber

(Newser) - The only person convicted in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am flight over Lockerbie, Scotland, has been released on compassionate grounds and will return to Libya, reports the BBC. Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi was sentenced to life for the murder of 270 people, but he is suffering from prostate cancer... More »

Tax Cheats Flood IRS, Looking to Come Clean

Inquiry into Swiss banks leads hundreds of evaders to come clean

(Newser) - A crackdown on tax evasion has led to a flood of wealthy Americans lining up to reveal their offshore accounts to the IRS, reports the Wall Street Journal. A limited-time offer of lower fines, coupled with the ongoing probe of Swiss bank accounts held by UBS, has produced a stampede... More »

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