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Clemency for Kenneth Smith

This petition had 68 supporters


Governor Markell,

 We the undersigned petition for clemency for Kenneth M Smith SbI#193906 . Mr. Smith has served 18 yrs of a life sentence under the 3 strike law. We feel this is harsh for the non violent offenses on Mr. Smith's record. We feel the 3 strike life sentence is or should be for habitual, violent offenders, who pose a danger and risk to society. Mr Smiths 1st felony was for a non violent marijuana charge for aprox. 2 grams in 1988, for which he served 2 years of probation.  This should not be a basis for a life sentence. Mr Smiths 2 other strikes where non violent, with no weapons involved. Please see in his words below the details of these strikes. Please show Mr. Smith the Clemency that Justice should allow. Release Mr.Smith to the love and Support of his Mother, Siblings, and Children. 

 

this is an exert from the letter our 420 Pow rep received from Mr. Smith

1-20-2016

 

"I've served (18) years of a natural life sentence under the 3 strikes law (habitual Offender Act). In 1988, I was arrested and charged for possession for attempting to sell (4) five dollar bags of marijuana. I plead guilty to the charge and received {2} years probation. The weed charge was my first felony.in 1994 I was arrested for shoplifting. In my possession, I had a small contain of mace attached to my car keys. Officers charged me with first degree robbery instead of shoplifting because i possessed the mace. I NEVER used the mace as a weapon. I served 2 years prison time for that. In 1997, I was arrested in a second shoplifting charge. During the course of the theft I was approached by store security I stated to security guard "back off" And I had my hand in my pocket. My statement elevated the shoplifting charge to first degree armed robbery. I had no firearm or weapon in my possession.

exert from Delaware online 12/28/2015 

Kenneth Smith hasn't been home for Christmas in 18 years.

On Dec. 22, 1998, he was arrested for stealing two winter coats from a rack in a discount store in Claymont. When a security guard confronted him outside, Smith stuck his hand in his pocket, acting as if he had a handgun, even though he didn't.

The gesture elevated what would have been a shoplifting charge to first-degree robbery. Then, because of tough-on-crime strategies sweeping the nation, he was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole.

"I'm not saying I don't deserve time. I don't want to downplay it or say I'm an angel. But some murders get life with the possibility of parole," Smith said while sitting in a visitor's room at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna.

Smith, now 50, was sentenced under Delaware's "three strikes and you're out" law. Prosecutors use it to put offenders who have at least three violent felonies away on mandatory life terms.

But, because the list of felonies considered violent have grown over the years, a handful of inmates in Delaware are serving life sentences for burglaries, robberies or drug offenses.

Smith, for example, had two prior felonies. One for marijuana possession in 1988; the other for first-degree robbery (a charge he picked up when he was caught shoplifting with a canister of pepper spray hanging from a keychain in his pocket).

Now, Smith has a renewed hope that he will eventually walk out of prison and spend the holidays with his four children and eight grandchildren.

http://www.delawareonline.com/story/news/crime/2015/12/28/inmates-serving-life-prison-hope-end-three-strikes-law/76792526/

   



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