Sunday, August 28, 2016

Pivot Back to Clemency - Fulfill the Promise of Mercy and Compassion

When Good News may be Very Bad

 Craig is a first time nonviolent marijuana offender who received a sentence of Life without Parole in the 11th Circuit, Northern District of Florida.  Craig has been incarcerated for 14 years and is 57 years old.

This week Craig Cesal's sentencing Judge made his own motion and reduced Craig's sentence from life to 30 years.  Craig was told that the judge reduced his sentence in light of the "drugs minus two" reduction that took effect in 2014.  Craig was told this by his case manager.  

A little over a year ago Craig filed a petition for Presidential Clemency.  As part  of the process to receive  clemency, the Office of the Pardon Attorney must send a copy of his petition to his prosecutor and his judge.  Under Eleventh Circuit law, Craig is not actually eligible for drugs minus two reduction because his computed guideline offense level was beyond the  pot limit of the chart.  

Other circuits allow a judge to start at level 43, the top of the chart and move downward when calculating a reduction.  Craig was waiting to file until the Eleventh Circuit adopted this rule.  If the Eleventh Circuit adopts this Craig could be eligible for a sentence in the 20 year range.  

One of the main reasons for granting  clemency is that there is no other option for sentencing relief as the patitioner does not qualify for sentencing relief from legislation that has passed or legislation that is pending.  Craig clearly did not qualify, but did fit into the category for clemency with a hopeless sentence of life without parole for a nonviolent marijuana offense  - He was charged with conspiracy and chose to exercise his Sixth Amendment right to trial. 

It appears that the Pardon Attorney sent Craig's clemency petition to the AUSA in the Northern District of Georgia for comment prior to granting clemency.  Apparently, the AUSA made the request to the judge as Craig did not make the request for sentencing reduction.  Additionally,  in the 11th Circuit Craig would not be eligible for a reduction in sentence based on drugs minus two.  If Craig does not take this he is not allowed to petition for relief under drugs minus two again even when the 11th Circuit adopts the sentencing chart of other Circuits.  

Craig now may be denied clemency because he was granted sentencing relief through drugs minus two, but Craig is a diabetic and reducing his life sentence to 30 years will give him a release date when he is 74 years of age.  This is beyond his life span.  Thus - Craig will be a statistic - An inmate who was granted a sentencing reduction through sentencing reform legislation, but still will most likely be incarcerated till death.  

This was all done in an irregular and not at the request of Craig.  This is a sentence that does not fit the crime for a first time nonviolent marijuana offender.







Thursday, August 25, 2016

Friday, August 5, 2016

Goodlatte. Clueless Critic Extraordinaire.



 P S Ruckman Responds to Bob Goodlatte about the Presidents Clemency Power Always to the Point

Friday, July 29, 2016

Mandatory Minimums, Maximum Punishment

 Charles Koch Institute supports Sentencing Reform and Sentencing Relief



Mandatory Minimums, Maximum Punishment: Thanks to tireless help from Families Against Mandatory Minimums, Weldon Angelos received a sentence reduction on the 55 years he faced for selling marijuana while carrying a firearm.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Time's Up - Let Me Go! Campaign

 This new campaign by the Exodus Foundation asks for 50,000 commutations

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

An Open Letter to the President

 P. S. Ruckman at Pardon Power posted this Letter to the President.

Release Non-Violent Drug Offenders  There are thousands who should receive Clemency.

An Open Letter to the President

Friday, June 10, 2016

Life With Out Parole





life without parole life without parole clemency commutation for a systemic, category or group nonviolent drug offenders with life without parole

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Whole Lotta Talkin' Goin' On (Part 36)

 This is from the Pardon Power Blog.  The promise of Clemency to thousands was made, but as time runs out many fear it will not be fulfilled.


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Seventy-Five-Year-Old Disabled Veteran Will Die in Prison for Growing Marijuana Plants for Personal Use

 States that still give Life for Pot - 
Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas - are there more?


Seventy-Five-Year-Old Disabled Veteran Will Die in Prison for Growing Marijuana Plants for Personal Use: The injustice of a mass-incarceration system that is an oubliette for people who've been deemed disposable will continue.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Heritage on the Apocalyptic Pardon Horseman

 A very interesting piece by P.S. Ruckman on the 
Pardon Power Blog.  Read all of it.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Osler's Razor: The stone is rolled away



I remember my father and his own faith.  It was a faith that believed in the metaphors of the stories read and told by Christians.  It was the belief that those stories represented ways to cope with the chafe and pain that may come from time to time. 

It was also a belief that love was a chain that connected the lives of the shattered to the lives of the complete and they should not be broken.  It's been many years since I thought about finding comfort in these words, but sometimes the thud of truth can hit hard.

This piece by Mark Osler has that truth for me. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A 'Draconian' System Where the Innocent Plead Guilty

 Plea Bargaining - Where the Sausage is Made


A 'Draconian' System Where the Innocent Plead Guilty: The U.S. criminal justice system is broken and needs to be fixed is a message you rarely hear from a well-respected senior federal judge.

But that’s exactly what Judge Jed Rakoff of the Southern District of New York detailed during a keynote address at the 11th Annual Harry Frank Guggenhei...

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Clemency Is Not Enough: Thousands Still Imprisoned For Nonviolent Marijuana Crimes

Clemency Is Not Enough: Thousands Still Imprisoned For Nonviolent Marijuana Crimes: About 44 percent of federal marijuana inmates had no or very minimal criminal histories prior to their conviction, and over a third are over the age of 40.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

U.S. Pardon Attorney: Does It Even Matter?

 Thoughtful piece by P.S. Ruckman at Pardon Power.


 As President Obama goes on the hunt for a new U.S. Pardon Attorney (something he should have done at the beginning of his presidency -instead of simply retaining Ronald L. Rodgers, George W. Bush's appointee), many wonder what impact the abrupt resignation of DeborahLeff will have on the already lame clemency record of this administration.  more


Friday, January 15, 2016

Shock: U.S. Pardon Attorney to Resign

 Just saw this on P.S. Ruckman's Blog Pardon Power.
It's a shock 

Shock: U.S. Pardon Attorney to Resign

 The Associated Press reports that Deborah Leff, the U.S. Pardon Attorney, is resigning "at the end of the month after less than two years on the job."  more

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

OPA Calls for 16 Attorney Advisors

Great News - We hope it means Thousands of Commutations are coming as promised.
http://democracyjournal.org/magazine/39/a-20-year-maximum-for-prison-sentences/

Great piece by Mark Mauer.  Link below.


Tagged CrimePrisons






Tuesday, January 5, 2016

john knock a case of charging disparity


John is a 68 year old nonviolent marijuana offender who received two life terms plus twenty for a marijuana offense.  He is a first time offender.  John has been incarcerated for a few months short of 20 years,  He has petitioned President Obama for a Commutation of his sentence to time served.  

The incarceration of nonviolent marijuana offenders for life is a waste of  taxpayer money and is not compatible with civil liberties.  

Nonviolent marijuana offender who are serving sentences of life without parole and have served 10 years could receive commutations  without endangering the safety of any community they are returned to. 

Releasing these nonviolent marijuana offenders would save tens of millions of dollars and would help restore faith in the criminal justice system.  It is obvious that these are sentences that do not fit the crime.  

Most all of the nonviolent marijuana offenders who received these sentences were charged with conspiracy and elected to exercise their Sixth Amendment Right to trial.  This is how these sentences are given.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

This article in Vice by Justin Glawe is a story about a little known component of out Criminal Justice System.


The combination of being charged with conspiracy and going to trial results in Life without Parole for nonviolent marijuana offenders and all other nonviolent drug offenders.  This is what Life for Pot has found for the nonviolent marijuana offenders that we have spotlighted on our site.

How Drug Conspiracy Laws Put Regular People in Prison for Life

Vice - Justin Glawe

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Saturday, June 27, 2015


There will be lots of consequences from the Supreme Court decision Johnson v. United States.  

Is it to hopeful to believe that one of them may be that Congress would craft legislation that is precise and without ambiguity.  

The enforcement, prosecution and sentencing has increasingly run amok and resulted in over incarceration and loss of citizens freedoms due to overcharging and overly broad interpretation of the law.  With the addition of mandatory minimums and the increased authority and power of prosecutors we have become a nation of prisoners when compared to the rest of the free world.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Life For Pot - Release Nonviolent Drug offenders

We're revising our web site to include current content and thoughts.  During the next few months it seems to us that advocates need to contact the President and the Justice Department to encourage them to grant Commutations at an accelerated rate.  

Inmates with mandatory minimums - Life without Parole - for nonviolent drug offenses need to have sentencing relief that they may not get through legislation. Congress should also not oppose the use of funds for the Pardon Attorney's Office.  These are critical actions that must be taken to restore fiscal responsibility and justice.  

Life without Parole for nonviolent drug offenses cannot be an accepted sentence for a nation that believes in mercy, compassion, and justice.



Monday, June 1, 2015

Koch Urges Obama Administration to Grant Clemency to Release Nonviolent Drug Offenders.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/2015/06/01/charles-koch-president-obama-release-drug-offenders-clemency/28309233/http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/2015/06/01/charles-koch-president-obama-release-drug-offenders-clemency/28309233/

Saturday, May 23, 2015

State Inmates

 Jeff Mizanskey received a commutation from Missouri Governor Nixon.  In Missouri, this means that he can now recieve parole from the Missouri Parole Board.  Let's hope they act with due speed.  Jeff Mizanskey has been on featured on the web site Life for Pot.  He is listed with some other nonviolent marijuana inmates who need commutations so they won't spent the rest of their lives in state prisons.



Monday, May 18, 2015

Former U.S. Pardon Attorney Blasts Process / Project



As we become more and more concerned about the success of Clemency Project 2014, I thought I'd share this video provided by PS Ruckman over at Pardon Power.

We are now into the 17th month after the launching of the promise of sentencing relief for the army of federal nonviolent citizens serving egregiously long sentences.  

Since I concern myself with those unfortunate offenders who  were charged with conspiracy for nonviolent marijuana offenses, hope rests with the discovery of mercy, compassion and justice within the Executive Branch.  

As I look at all nonviolent drug offenders with life sentences or defacto life - an obvious pattern begins to emerge.  These sentences are not given because of the nature of these offenders actions, but because of the prosecutors charging decisions.  It could not be a coincidence that these offenders were almost all charged with conspiracy - the easiest charge to prosecute with the slimmest amount of evidence and they all elected to exercise their 6th Amendment Right to Trial.

Had these two circumstances been part of their case, they would most certainly have been released long ago.



Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Life For Pot - Online

 Click the link on Life for Pot.  Darrell Hayden was granted a Commutation today by President Barack Obama. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

This is what freedom looks like

 Take a Look at The Clemency Report and See the Great Stories about Sentencing Relief


This is what freedom looks like

Monday, March 16, 2015

16 Percent of Federal Prison Population to Obama: Set Us Free!

Piece from PS Ruckman's Blog - Pardon Power

 16 Percent of Federal Prison Population to Obama: Set Us Free!