Grant Samuel Karim Executive Clemency

Grant Samuel Karim Executive Clemency

585 have signed. Let’s get to 1,000!
Petition to
Governor J.B. Pritzker

Why this petition matters

Started by Nikki Donnelley

Samuel Karim has been incarcerated for over twenty-five years for his actions as a nineteen year old and is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Since being incarcerated Mr. Karim has earned his GED and paralegal certification; completed college courses with DePaul, Northwestern, and Northeastern University's Prison Neighborhood Art Program; started a non-profit with the mission of curbing violence in Chicago; started multiple trucking businesses; and became a mentor to other incarcerated men.

At the time of events leading to Mr. Karim's incarceration, he had already experienced a lifetime of trauma, including both experiencing and witnessing physical abuse, being exposed to drug and gang activity, suffering a traumatic brain injury, and being shot and stabbed. By the time he was nineteen years old, Mr. Karim had a severe substance abuse problem, smoking cannabis and drinking daily, and he was also involved in gangs and selling drugs.

Mr. Karim's conviction stems from a confrontation with two men who had sold Mr. Karim bad drugs. These individuals, along with another man Mr. Karim had never met, came to collect money from Mr. Karim, armed with a baseball bat. Mr. Karim got into their vehicle and an altercation ensued. When the driver started the car and attempted to drive away with Mr. Karim in the car, Mr. Karim panicked and fired into the vehicle. Sadly, all three men were shot, and two of them died. At the time Mr. Karim was genuinely in fear for his life.

Despite recent scientific developments about late adolescent brain development, and changes in Illinois law that support early release for people convicted of crimes when they were under twenty-one, Mr. Karim has no judicial avenue for early release. Research shows that the prefrontal cortex is of the last parts of the brain to develop. The prefrontal cortex controls the “executive function” of the brain, which impacts a person’s ability to make decisions, their sensitivity to external stimuli, and the level at which they can be influenced by their peers. This part of the brain is not fully developed until the age of twenty-five. 

Mr. Karim has no avenues to challenge his conviction or natural life sentence. The only way to have his sentence reduced is for Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker to commute his sentence. Please support Mr. Karim's clemency request, so that he does not have to die in prison for his actions as a nineteen-year-old!

585 have signed. Let’s get to 1,000!