Approve Clemency For Alphonse Riley-James

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Alphonse Riley-James


            We, the family, friends, and concerned members of the community, sign this petition in support of the request for Executive Clemency to commute the prison sentence of Alphonse Riley- James. We believe that since his incarceration for felony murder as a teenager in 1988, in which it is undisputed that he did NOT commit the homicidal act, he has made exceptional strides in self- development and improvement; has made responsible use of available rehabilitative programs; and the commutation of his lengthy sentence is in the interest of justice, consistent with public safety and his rehabilitation. We also believe that further incarceration would constitute gross unfairness because of the basic inequities involved.

            It was alleged that Alphonse and five other defendants robbed two drug dealers inside of an apartment building. The two drug dealers were killed at some point during the robbery. It was undisputed that Alphonse did not commit the homicidal act; he did not have a weapon when the men were killed, and the homicides occurred on a different floor of the building than the one he was on.

            Alphonse was sentenced during an era when tough judges would routinely sentence defendants, even first-time offenders like him, to maximum prison sentences just because they did not accept a plea deal. In his case, he was offered a deal where he would be eligible for parole after 16 years if he pleads guilty and testified against the other defendants involved in the crime. He did not accept that deal, and was sentenced to more time than some of the most notorious killers New York history.

            He earned Bachelors and Associates degrees during his incarceration, in addition to other college certificates. He also earned a paralegal diploma from Blackstone Career Institute, a certificate from Literacy Volunteers of America for participating in its National Issues Forums, numerous certificates from the prison department for completing its rehabilitation programs. Alphonse also volunteers as an inmate caregiver in the Children’s Center at his prison. The Children’s Center is operated by the Osborne Association’s Family Works Program. The center is designed for inmates and their young family members to interact. He has also volunteered for many years to instruct the Legal Research Course. The Legal Research Course is designed to provide inmates with basic legal instruction to ensure that law libraries in correctional facilities will have qualified law clerks. He has been working in the prison law library for more than 20 years where he has successfully helped many inmates challenge their wrongful convictions. He has an excellent disciplinary record, and he always receives excellent evaluations from prison officials. He is also a blogger at a website operated by his wife,

            We believe that a reduction of Alphonse’s lengthy sentence is in the interest of justice, consistent with public safety and his rehabilitation. 

            Thanking you in advance!