Petition Closed
Petitioning U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Pardon Attorney and 28 others



William Harness, grandson of celebrated country music legend Waylon Jennings, has always been destined to make a difference in countless lives. First and foremost, Harness is a devoted father of five wonderful children. At this very moment, all five children dearly miss their daddy and are desperately waiting for him to come home. To his hundreds of thousands of young fans, Harness is known as “Struggle,” a creative musician and unique songwriter. In every single one of his songs and performances, Harness not only inspires, but positively influences music enthusiasts of all ages. His stage name and music convey a message of optimism to all listeners. Harness/Struggle encourages everyone, especially young people living in underprivileged and low-income inner-city neighborhoods, to endure and overcome life’s inevitable trials, temptations, and tribulations.

Unfortunately, Harness is currently unable to have this much-needed impact on the lives of his children and fans. A wiretap recording of Harness produced a federal case that ended with the father of five receiving a sentence of 57 months in jail for simply speaking about, not possessing narcotics. Because he simply spoke freely while unaware that he was under secret surveillance, Harness has lost everything. The government has stolen Struggle’s freedom and what should be the most valuable and productive years of his life. As he endures incarceration, Harness is sorrowfully absent from the irreplaceable developmental years of his children, and unable to generate an income by capitalizing on his ability to perform and create new music for his fans.

Sadly, this story gets worse. Will is currently facing charges of conspiracy in the state of Tennessee over a phone recording. Even though Harness was arrested with zero narcotics in his possession, a wiretap recording has indefinitely suspended the life of a man and his family. A phone conversation now deprives Harness the liberty to provide and care for his family. Additionally, Struggle’s fans, known for relentlessly listening to his music as a source of wisdom, are now left volatile. Struggle’s lyrics serve as a warning, advising against the criminal lifestyle. As long as Harness is incarcerated, his fans are unable to benefit and learn from new music and the art that Harness creates to help others avoid criminality.

Eventually, Struggle was presented with the “opportunity” to serve 30 percent of a 15 to 30 year sentence, which at best still orders a bleak four and a half years imprisonment. This petition respectfully requests leniency in the form of a suspended sentence with supervision. The undersigned petitioners believe this modification to Struggle’s sentence is judicious for a number of reasons. The facts are: Will has not committed any legal offenses or been involved in any illegal activity since his arrest on federal charges, Will has submitted to and passed all drug tests administered to him, Will has complied with all rules and regulations mandated to him while out of custody, and most importantly Will has a thriving career to generate income that eliminates any need to engage in illegal activity for monetary gain. What’s more, before his latest arrest, Harness had proven himself to be a capable and law-abiding citizen. The charge brought forth by the state of Tennessee was perplexingly based on a phone tap that took place before Struggle’s arrest on federal charges. In other words, the state charge against Harness was not due to recent criminal activity, but was actually the result of an investigation into activities that allegedly took place before federal charges emerged.

If Will is released, his children will have a father present to raise them and ensure they steer clear of trouble by teaching and encouraging them to choose the proper path. The undersigned petitioners truly believe Will's influence on his friends, family, and fans is too constructive to be held captive. Incarcerating a father with so much talent, promise, and potential…whose arrest was due to a phone call and surveillance, not possession of narcotics, is a travesty and absolute miscarriage of justice. If rehabilitation is really the goal of the justice and prison systems, this man must be given the possibility to prove himself as a free citizen. Character reference letters are available from friends and prominent music industry professionals to verify Struggle’s work ethic, principles, and moral fiber.


Written By Jared Abelson 

This petition was delivered to:
  • U.S. Department of Justice
    Office of the Pardon Attorney
  • State Representative
    Gary Odom
  • State Representative
    Beth Harwell
  • State Representative
    Harold Love
  • Representative
    Phil Roe
  • Representative
    Scott DesJarlais
  • Representative
    Stephen Fincher
  • Representative
    Chuck Fleischmann
  • Governor
    Ronald Ramsey
  • U.S. House of Representatives
  • U.S. Senate
  • Tennessee State House
  • Tennessee State Senate
  • State Representative
    Brenda Gilmore
  • State Representative
    Bo Mitchell
  • State Senator
    Thelma Harper
  • President of the United States
    Barack Obama
  • Governor of Tennessee
    Bill Haslam
  • State of Tennessee Board of Probation and Parole Division of Board Operations
    Board of Probation and Parole
  • Representative
    John Duncan
  • Representative
    Jim Cooper
  • Representative
    Marsha Blackburn
  • Representative
    Steve Cohen
  • Senator
    Lamar Alexander
  • Senator
    Bob Corker
  • State Senator
    Steven Dickerson
  • State Senator
    Douglas Henry
  • Representative
    Diane Black
  • Tennessee Governor

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