My father, Michael Palmer, was sentenced to life in prison under mandatory minimum drug sentencing on January 7, 1989 - just ten days before I was born. He has been in prison for 25 years now - most of his life and all of mine. I believe he has paid his debt to society and should be granted clemency.
On January 17th, 2014 I turned 25. My birth month is symbolic of when my father lost his freedom, and my age calculates how long he has been incarcerated. Like every other fatherless child in this world, I too have cried myself to sleep at night, and envied other kids who have a physical relationship with their father. I can honestly say that I am embarrassed of my father. I have friends and acquaintances that I have known for ten years or more who have absolutely no idea of his whereabouts or if he even exist.
Please sign my petition asking President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Pardon Attorney Deborah Leff to grant my father, Michael Palmer petition for clemency. He has more than paid his debt to society. My father has been in prison for 25 years now— half of his life. It is not right that he should die in there. He would have spent more years in prison, then actually living his life.
Although my father was a pen pal to me, I would still consider him a parent. He enforced the importance of education, and staying focused. He was disappointed if I acted up or misbehaved. In getting to know my dad, I felt like I could relate to him on a lot of topics. We shared the same views on life, people, school, books, religion, politics, ethics, morals and our values. I felt like he was the best friend, companion, and most of all— the father that I never had.
Even from prison, he has motivated me to be where I am at today. I graduated at the top twenty five percent of my class, I was one out of the thirty peer leaders in my entire high school, I was a mentor, I represented my school at the National Young Leadership Conference in Washington D.C, I studied Spanish in Spain because of my accomplishments, I attended Temple University on a partial academic scholarship. My major was Biology Pre-Medicine and I minored in Spanish. Currently I am in medical school, soon to graduate in 2016.
Thanks to my mother, I have never wanted or needed anything in life, but my FATHER—she cannot replace him. I regret not getting to know him as a child. I was young and naive. I believed that there was no hope for him. I am now a young adult with a lot of goals and dreams in life. My goal is to be a successful doctor and my dream is to have a father.
My father is not the same man he was when he entered prison. He is changed. Here are his own words:
“I, Michael Palmer, want to thank you, the world, for taking the time to read this petition and hope you will sign on so I can get looked at for clemency and a second chance at life, something that I will not take for granted. I just want to spend the rest of my life with my grandchildren since I missed the golden years of my children. I want to also say to anyone out there that is thinking about or is into the streets, 'Hey, there is nothing that can take the price of your freedom. Stay in school, get an education, and spend time with your family. Life is too short. Reach, teach and help one another. Prison is wack!!!'”