Free Greg Mingo: Help bring an innocent man home

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My uncle, Greg Mingo, has been in prison my whole life for crimes he didn’t commit. 

In 1981, he was wrongfully accused and charged, along with two others, in a robbery and double murder that took place in Queens one year earlier. Despite initially being offered a plea deal, Greg maintained his innocence the entire time. He has now been in prison for 39 years.

My life has been shaped by my uncle’s incarceration. Uncle Greg missed my birth, but when I was four, my parents moved to Westchester, NY so we could be closer to where he was imprisoned. I’ve felt his absence in every milestone of my life since then. He missed my graduations from high school and Harvard. He could not be there on my wedding day. 

And for what? There was no physical evidence in the case against Greg, and his court-appointed defense lawyer failed to present an alibi witness who had agreed to testify on his behalf. Only a Black man in New York in the 1980s could have been convicted on such thin allegations and sent away for so long.

The average time served in state prison for a murder conviction is 15 years. Greg’s sentence of 50 years to life is staggering; what some refer to as “death by incarceration.”

Uncle Greg grew up in a system rife with injustice. Just five months after sentencing Greg, Queens Supreme Court Justice Thomas Agresta used the N-word in open court in reference to a Black defendant. His gross, public ethical violation was so egregious that Justice Agresta was censured a year later, and has since been used as an example in legal scholarship on judicial misconduct and community harm. 

Greg is an inspiration to me and countless people who have crossed paths with him. In the past 39 years, he has taken every opportunity to improve himself and help others. He has served as a peer counselor, legal research instructor, and led numerous workshops on aggression replacement training and domestic violence prevention. He’s also completed college-level courses that transformed his world view and fueled his aspirations for the future.

Every day I worry for my uncle. Uncle Greg isn’t eligible for parole for another 11 years. His innocence is known by his family, his supporters and his legal team. It will be proven in a court of law one day. But until that day comes, nothing is more important than this: Greg Mingo needs to come home.

Inspired by my uncle’s story, CUNY law students are assisting Greg with filing a clemency application, calling on Governor Cuomo to show compassion for Greg and release him from prison. 


How You Can Help

Greg Mingo’s family and supporters have set up this petition to gather signatures to advocate for his clemency. Please add your name (and address if you live in New York) to call for his release. For more info on how to get involved, please email info@freegregmingo.com or go to freegregmingo.com.

* Please note: Including your address with your name—especially authentic New York State addresses—is a HUGE help. Because hearing from his own state residents will carry even more weight for Gov. Cuomo, it will boost Greg’s chances of freedom.

I sincerely thank you for taking the time to learn about someone who means so much to my family.