Grant clemency to a father serving a 20 year mandatory minimum sentence for protecting his family
  • Petitioning Pam Bondi

This petition will be delivered to:

Attorney General
Pam Bondi
Florida CFO and Clemency Board Member
Jeff Atwater
Florida Governor

Grant clemency to a father serving a 20 year mandatory minimum sentence for protecting his family

    1. Sharon Elmaleh
    2. Petition by

      Sharon Elmaleh

      Great Neck, NY

Orville (Lee) Wollard is serving a 20 year mandatory minimum sentence for protecting his family against a violent individual in his Florida home by firing a warning shot.  Nobody was injured or hit. But unless Governor Rick Scott grants him clemency, Lee will be in prison until he's 73. 

In the spring of 2008, Lee and his wife Sandy opened up their home to their teenage daughter's 17-year-old boyfriend, who reportedly had nowhere to stay. Shortly thereafter the couple found out that he was stealing prescription pain medication from the home, and had on a prior occasion hit their daughter. Lee and Sandy eventually told the boyfriend that he should make plans to leave their home.  One day,  seeing the boyfriend outside the house with his daughter, Lee asked him again to leave, and the young man attacked him, ripping out stitches from Lee's recent surgery. The boyfriend left with Lee's daughter, and Lee was in too much pain to do much else.

Some hours later, Lee was awakened by his older daughter's calls for help - the young man was inside the younger daughter's bedroom and loud noises were heard from outside, as if objects were being thrown. Scared for his family’s safety, Lee took his pistol into the hallway area, where at that point he saw his younger daughter crying, and the boyfriend punching a hole with his fist in the living room wall.  Lee ordered the boyfriend to leave. The boyfriend, with clenched fists, came closer to Lee, who at that point shot a bullet into the living room wall to scare him. No one was hurt and this finally caused the boy to leave the house.  

Several weeks later, the boyfriend went to the police and said Lee had fired a gun at him. That same day, Lee was arrested and charged with aggravated assault without intent to kill.

Believing he was within his rights to defend his family, Lee rejected a plea deal for five years of probation and pled not guilty. The jury rejected Lee's self-defense claim and found him guilty of possessing and discharging a firearm, triggering Florida’s 20-year mandatory minimum for aggravated assault with a weapon.  

Judge Donald Jacobsen disagreed with the sentence but felt he had no choice, saying:  "This [sentence] is obviously excessive…if it weren’t for the mandatory minimum…I would use my discretion and impose some separate sentence, having taken into consideration the circumstances of the event, but I think I am duty-bound to apply the law as it has been enacted by the legislature."

The officer who prepared Lee's sentencing score sheet also begged the government to recognize the extenuating circumstances of the case.  Additionally, the investigating officer stated that he believed Lee's daughter and the boyfriend had used this incident solely to get back at Lee for trying to keep them apart. 

Unless Governor Rick Scott grants him clemency, Lee will be in prison until he is 73 years old.

This sentence has destroyed a family and we hope you will sign this petition to ask Governor Rick Scott to grant Lee Wollard clemency. 

To:
Pam Bondi, Attorney General
Jeff Atwater, Florida CFO and Clemency Board Member
Florida Governor
Please grant clemency to Orville (Lee) Wollard who is serving a 20 year mandatory minimum sentence for protecting his family against a violent individual in his Florida home by firing a warning shot. Nobody was injured or hit.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 100,000 signatures
    2. Asking for just a little bit more!

      Sharon Elmaleh
      Petition Organizer

      Lee's family is so grateful for all of your signatures on his petition, and I, as petition organizer, am heartened by the response to the CBS segment of this past weekend. So...because my own Dad taught me to strike while the iron is hot... I am asking all of you (past and future supporters) to do a little bit more.

      I know that many of you are busy students, or have one or more jobs, as well as families, and that most of us are crazy busy in this modern age, but for any of you who actually live in Florida and have some free time, would you consider making calls to your senator or representatives to let them know how you feel about this case?

      In June, 2014, Governor Scott signed into law a bill that makes warning shots legal in Florida under certain circumstances. To my knowledge, however, that law has not been made retroactive. This means that Lee Wollard and a number of other unfortunate inmates (Marissa Alexander and Erik Weyant, to name a couple) will continue to serve 20 year sentences for having done (in the past) what is now considered legal.

      If you, like me, feel like retroactivity is the obvious way to go, please call your politicians and let them know how you feel. There is nothing like a phone call from a constituent to drive the point home.

      Let's strike while the iron is hot!

    3. Reached 8,000 signatures
    4. Interview on CBS Sunday Morning show _October 5, 2014

      Sharon Elmaleh
      Petition Organizer

      On October 5, 2014, at 9:00 am, CBS Sunday Morning will air an interview Orville (Lee) Wollard gave from prison. You will be able to hear Lee tell his story in his own words. We urge you to watch if you can. Awareness amongst the American public is the first step; political action is the second.

      If you are a resident of Florida, please, please pick up the phone to your local politicians, to your senator, or to the Governor's office, and let them know how you feel about the application of 10-20-LIFE to a case such as this. If you are a resident of another state which has mandatory minimum sentences on the books, then please be active in any way you wish, if you want to do away with these Draconian sentences.

    5. Fundraising campaign for Lee's wife

      Sharon Elmaleh
      Petition Organizer

      Lee's incarceration has financially destroyed his family. I have created a fundraising website for his wife, Sandy, who is very much in need of financial help at this point. Please donate at:

      http://www.gofundme.com/b1v0do

    6. Mr. Wollard's interview with Joe Berlinger, airing May 25 and May 28

      Sharon Elmaleh
      Petition Organizer

      Joe Berlinger, a master craftsman of hard-hitting documentaries and a gem of a person, interviewed Lee Wollard in prison late last year. Sandy Wollard, Lee's wife, also appears on the show. The interview will be aired on Episode 2 of "The System", an 8 part series presented by Al Jazeera America which examines various aspects of America's criminal justice system. The first airing was May 25, 2014 ...and it will run again on May 28 at 9 pm ET.

    7. Reached 7,000 signatures
    8. With a heavy heart

      Sharon Elmaleh
      Petition Organizer

      It is with a heavy heart that I have to tell all of Orville (Lee's) supporters that a state judge in Florida has just denied his "3.85 motion" asking for a re-trial. The significance of this recent decision is that Orville has now exhausted the last of his state appeals. Had there been a re-trial, he would have had a chance, with his new lawyers, to demonstrate to a jury that his actions were, in fact, justified. Instead, he is now facing the reality that the only way he can walk out those prison doors is with the intervention of the Florida Clemency Board. Your signatures on this petition have taken on an even greater importance. Orville (Lee's) family and friends hope that each of you takes the opportunity to spread the word about his case. Please tell everyone you know, at the water cooler, on the bus, at your dinner tables, in your emails. This tragedy should be un-done.

    9. Reached 6,000 signatures
    10. A clarification

      Sharon Elmaleh
      Petition Organizer

      Some of you who have signed this petition might have misunderstood some aspects of the story. I would just like to set a couple of things straight:

      1. Mr. Wollard was found guilty by a jury (after a one day trial) on the counts on which he was charged. Many of us believe this had something to do with the kind of evidence which - unfortunately - was not presented at the trial, which a jury should have been aware of. Regardless, it was the jury, not the judge, who found him guilty.

      2. The young man who attacked Mr. Wollard earlier in the day did so by physically jumping onto his body, and this ripped out some of the stitches from Mr. Wollard's recent abdominal surgery. The young man, however, did not have a gun, nor did he "break in" to Mr. Wollard's home later. He came in together with Mr. Wollard's teen daughter. That is why the jury was advised not to consider him an intruder.

    11. Mr. Wollard's condition

      Sharon Elmaleh
      Petition Organizer

      What I didn't mention in the original petition is that it has been exceedingly difficult for Mr. Wollard in prison. He had some of his teeth knocked out by another inmate for coming to the defense of yet another inmate. He has had a number of personal items stolen. He has lost a ton of weight due to stress, anxiety and the quality of the prison food, as well as the very limited time which is given to the inmates in which to consume their meals. He is dealing with a chronic skin condition which keeps him from sleeping many nights. The list goes on and on.

    12. Reached 5,000 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • veronica wooten ROEBUCK, SC
      • 11 minutes ago

      I think a father should do whatever it takes to protect his family.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • William Carr LAUREL, MD
      • 22 minutes ago

      I support a person's right to protect their family.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Kristin Moore WILMINGTON, NC
      • about 2 hours ago

      I am signing because I feel people have to protect their family, if he had aimed the fun and shot at the boyfriend it would change things slightly, but sometimes seperate times cause for desperate measures.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Gregory Plutshack MENOMONIE, WI
      • about 3 hours ago

      That sounds absurd!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Stephen Hatton BRAZIL, IN
      • about 3 hours ago

      he should not spend so much time for doing the morally correct thing.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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