Commutation of sentence for Timothy Edwards

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This petition is written to request Timothy Edwards be granted a commutation of sentence (early release). We believe this is fair considering he was sentenced to 30 years at such a young age. Being young with lack of guidance and taking the advice of the public defender who represented him, he chose to go to trial. We feel this extensive sentence was issued to make an example out of Timothy for challenging the courts.

At the age of 18, Timothy was charged with armed robbery. There were 2 other older men involved but only received a fraction of the time Timothy recieved. He was represented by a public defender which we feel led to an unfair trial. He was sentenced to 30 years for this first adult charge, being accused of armed robbery, although a gun was never found on him. Unbeknownst to him, just four month after his 18th birthday, this simple mistake of following others involved would change his life. He has now served 17 1/2 years. In those 17 1/2 years, we firmly believe he has thought about and has regretted his actions.

Timothy was employed just prior to his arrest. He is a good man with a good heart who made a mistake at a young age and is now ultimately paying for his actions. Florida sentencing guidelines are considered to be one of the toughest in the nation. Florida prison systems are full of young men who are sentenced to 25 years or more for crimes they would have gotten 5 or 10 years in other states. Young men in Florida are receiving outrageous sentencing then sent to the Florida prison system which is considered most violent in the nation. We strongly believe sentencing an 18 year old to 30 years is uncalled for. Where is the rehabilitation? Where is the leniency in seeing if this individual is a changed man? In my opinion, 30 years is too harsh of a sentence. We’ve all been young and we’ve all made mistakes.

Extensive studies are being conducted in regards to what role age should play when sentencing across America. The US Supreme Court has called upon new findings in neuroscience and psychology to aid in decisions when sentencing men between the ages of 18 to 25. Their wrong doing is often because of immaturity. The brain area involved in reasoning and self control is not fully developed until the mid 20s. However, the brain areas involved in emotion and fear are fully developed by the age of 17. This pattern of brain development creates a perfect storm for crime. Around the ages of 18-21, individuals have the brain capacity for adult emotions yet a teenager's ability to control them.

With speaking to Timothy often, I know in my heart he is a changed individual who just wants another opportunity to make things right in his life.  We know he can become a great asset to society. We believe once released, he would have tunnel vision to a bright future being focused on bettering his life for himself and his family. He has also become a voice of reason to the young men who have crossed his path while incarcerated. Being in prison for 16 years, he has become an advocate to these men, pushing them to do better. He has even been my voice of reason on several occasions. It amazes me how one who has been hit with such adversities, could give understanding advice. Being incarcerated, he has missed out on so many opportunities and occasions with family and friends. To anyone, this would be a hard pill to swallow. And although I know he is sadden by this, he does not let it dictate his overall being and drive to focus towards the future and the opportunities it will bring.

Timothy is a man with a great heart who made a mistake as a teenager. It saddens me to see him do anymore time incarcerated. 17 years is more than enough time to turn your life around and strive towards a brighter future.

We respectfully request that Timothy Edwards be granted a commutation of sentence. We will submit the signatures of the signees below who agree this to be fair.

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