Support my son Arnie King by signing his petition to commute the life (without parole) sentence so that he can become eligible for parole release.
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This is important because Arnie is requesting a 6th public hearing. Governor Patrick rejected a 6-0 favorable vote in 2008, and Arnie was granted another hearing in October 2010. Two months after the hearing, a police officer was killed by a lifer on parole. The governor then fired 5 parole board members and selected replacements. After that, Arnie received an unfavorable vote in March 2011, and he was denied another hearing request in March 2013.
Arnie is responsible for killing a man in 1971, when he was 18 and had been drinking and drugging for several days. He has been clean for over 30 years now, obtained 3 college degrees, successfully completed more than 2 dozen weekend furloughs, participated in and created many support, rehabilitation, and education programs, and he remains very active in community service. Based on his age, the number of years he has served in prison, his level of educational achievement, and his community service while inside prison, Arnie is no longer a risk for danger to society. Over the years he has formed many significant bonds with people who are high achievers, and they support his reentry as a contributing member to society, including offers of employment and the prospects of becoming a taxpayer rather than costing the state $50,000/annually.
Here are a few examples of support shown at Arnie's public hearings over the past 7 years:
- Charles Ogletree (Professor, Harvard Law), I have never seen anyone transform their life the way he has in the more than 40 years of service in prison.
- Gloria Fox (State Representative), I believe he is a changed man … and we support this commutation.
- Mel King (Professor Emeritus/MIT), What we need to see in this world is epitomized by Arnie and his change and behavior…
- Jill Soffiyah Elijah (Attorney), How many youth counselors have I met regularly, who have been impacted by Mr. King!
- Reverend William Dickerson (Greater Love Tabernacle), Arnie King is not the average inmate. He doesn’t play games. He is sincere.
- Reverend Dr. Ray Hammond (Bethel AME), I appreciate that he inspires young people to make the right choices and not simply scare them. We really need the voice and presence of Arnie King.
- Eva Clark (Executive Director, Judge Banks Community Justice Program), Nothing short of catastrophic illness would prevent me from being here today to support Arnie King.
- Lyn Levy (Executive Director, SPAN, Inc.), I met Arnie in 1976 and I will be one of the people holding his hand. Our agency will help him also.
- Dr. Fran Roznowski (Community Psychologist), I have known Arnie since 1979, and I will be joining many others to have his back.
- Robin Casarjian (Executive Director, Lion Heart Foundation), For 15 years, he showed up with a sense of purpose and encouraged other prisoners to participate in group activities.
- Bob David (Side By Side Community Circle), Of the large numbers of disciplinary reports, some may be questionable, while other were earned.
- Paul Marcus (Executive Director, Community Change Inc.), What Arnie’s life means to me is the power of transformation, and society needs to see this example.
- Abrigal Forrester (Street Safe Boston), I’m here as a product of Arnie King. Hope – Lifeline – Redemption. He engaged the ignorance within me and told me I had value.
- Peter McGuane (Student, Truck Driver), I was in for involuntary manslaughter, and he got me active with Prison Voices, which I continued upon release. I’m honored to be here for Arnie.
- Paule Verdet (Professor Emeritus/BU), It’s a way of life for Arnie. He is a superb model.
- Becky Thompson (Professor/Simmons College), Recognizing Mr. King as a man worthy of commutation, no one benefits if the policy exists theoretically but is never granted.
- Felix Arroyo, Sr. (former Boston City Councillor), The first time I met Mr. King, I was with his brother. I wondered about him and found a calm person, at peace with himself. We have a recourse… ‘cause I know it will help our community.
- Nancy Murray (ACLU), Why is the community present? We are interested in redemption… He couldn’t bring back the life, but he would do what he could to try to prevent others from going down that path.
- George Lee (Community Organizer), I heard a lot about him. He wasn’t about tooting his own horn. He was present for young folks and the other men.
- Seth Kirshenbaum (Director, The City School), Having Arnie with us in the community will help save young lives, and we have a job or volunteer opportunity for him.
- Banjineh Brown (Boston School Teacher), He works with prevention. The “Arnie” factor is about redemption, and we use him as a case study. He is an entrepreneur activist.
- Jason Lydon (Minister), Through Barbed Wire has been quite active at the Community Church of Boston.
- Aaron Tanaka (Boston Workers Alliance), I hope you will see his deep commitment to change and rehabilitation.
- Dianne Zimbabwe (Community Artist/Educator), My involvement with Through Barbed Wire allows me to witness the positive impact of Arnie’s community endeavors.
- Myriam Ortiz (Executive Director, Boston Parents Organizing Network), Arnie King has been an asset to us and students benefit from his example.
- Daniel King (Brother), I was a 16 year old teenager in 1971. We have prayed for the family of John Labanara for comfort and peace, and we hope for their forgiveness.
- Marva King (Sister), It matters that we heal together.
- Eddie Berkin (Attorney), People are much more friends than supporters. Because they are friends, they are also supporters.
- Margaret Burnham (Attorney), Your legal obligation is to review and decide whether this man has made exceptional strides in development.
- Walt Silva, Ed D (Professor Emeritus/BU), Arnie is the classic example of prison injustice gone way over the top. He's jumped through every hoop, made every effort to contribute to the community from behind bars more than anyone else that I have known in my 25 years involved in prison higher education, and remains in prison at a cost of what - $60,000 + a year when he could be out contributing and paying taxes with zero threat to anyone? I have written to Governor Patrick more than once, concerning parole in general and Arnie specifically. If Arnie King doesn't qualify for commutation, then who does? It sends a sad message back to the prison population. If Arnie doesn't get a consideration, what's the sense of trying? But I'm sure Arnie doesn't feel that way, and will continue to keep contributing from behind bars. Imagine what he could do if he were out. He's paid his dues several times over.
Arnie is the 3rd of 9 children through which many grandchildren and great grandchildren are a major part of this family circle. I complete 82 years of living this month, full of tremendous joys and blessings. However, this journey will be incomplete until I’m able to welcome Arnie’s return to the world community.
My son has been inside Massachusetts prisons for the 1971 murder of another human being. He was 18, under the influence of alcohol and drugs, in Boston, and responsible for the death of this young man. Our entire family-and-friends network was devastated, as well as that of the Labanara family. After Arnie was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment, without parole, I traveled to Massachusetts with his younger brothers and sisters to visit him in the maximum security prison. I told him that “God would not forsake him and neither would our family-and-friends community”.
Arnie has grown, matured, and progressed during this lengthy period of imprisonment. He obtained 3 college degrees, created major rehabilitative programs within the prison and offered services to communities beyond the walls. He has been encouraged by many people, while inspiring the success of others. By examining the volumes of documents, transcripts, and opinions, it will become clear - the need to support the eventual release of my son. God Bless and One Love! Please sign the petition and encourage your family members and friends to support this effort.
- Mary King
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