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Woman Granted Clemency by Obama Is Back in Prison

Carol Denise Richardson was among 1.7K inmates freed during Obama's tenure

(Newser) - A Texas woman serving a life sentence for a relatively minor drug offense and given a second chance by President Obama is headed back to prison. Carol Denise Richardson, 49, was among hundreds of non-violent drug offenders granted clemency by Obama, who was persuaded by arguments from activists that drug... More »

Serial Killer's Push for Freedom: I'm a 'Better Person'

75-year-old Richard Steeves says he's overcome his 'violent, unpredictable past'

(Newser) - Richard Steeves is 75 years old, plays the piano, and has just one wish in life. But as Bob Hohler details for the Boston Globe , that wish—freedom—is complicated by the fact that Steeves is a convicted serial killer who's been in prison for three decades. Hohler has... More »

Assange: On Second Thought, Extradition a No-Go

Assange's lawyer says WikiLeaks founder wanted full clemency for Chelsea Manning

(Newser) - On second thought, Julian Assange won't be traveling to the US after all. Back in September, the WikiLeaks founder had said he would agree to extradition to the US if Chelsea Manning was pardoned, the Hill reports. Well, on Tuesday President Obama commuted the majority of Manning's 35-year... More »

Chelsea Manning Petition Hits White House Threshold

Administration has 60 days to respond

(Newser) - A petition urging President Obama to commute Chelsea Manning's sentence to time served has passed the 100,000-signature threshold that may require an official response from the White House—though Obama is only going to be there for another 38 days. "We did it! Thank you so much... More »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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