Petitioning Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe: Please pardon Jermaine Doss.

Jermaine Doss, an African-American business owner from Norfolk, Virginia, has been in prison since 2000, convicted of murder-for-hire. His sentence was life-plus-38 years. He maintains he was framed by a crooked cop after refusing an extortion demand.

That police officer is now serving a prison sentence for extortion in another case. And the prosecution's key witness has recanted his testimony, saying he was pressured to testify against Mr. Doss.

Mr. Doss' working-class parents have mortgaged their home to pay for legal representation for their son, but have run out of money for appeals. They are asking Gov. McDonnell to review the case in the hope of obtaining a pardon for Jermaine. Please read the petition and you will see why this injustice cries out for intervention.

Note: The Doss family has already collected 650 signatures on a hard-copy version of this petition, as well as 150 on a previous online petition. So we are very close to reaching our first goal of 1,000, at which time we will try to interest the media, which has covered this case before. Then we will ask to meet with Gov. McDonnell and members of his staff. We would also like to hold some vigils to draw more attention to this case.

If you would like to help in this effort, please email:

Letter to
Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell
We, the undersigned, call on Gov. Terry McAuliffe to grant a pardon to Jermaine Doss, a Norfolk resident now serving a sentence of life-plus-38 years in a Virginia prison for a crime we believe he did not commit.

In 1998, an acquaintance of Doss named Nathaniel McGee was charged with the murder of Norfolk businessman James Webb. At the time of his arrest, McGee gave police a statement claiming Jermaine had hired him to kill Webb in a dispute over drugs. McGee later retracted that statement in court. He also signed an affidavit stating he only testified against Jermaine because prosecutors had told him that otherwise he would face the death penalty. He also has written a letter to Jermaine apologizing for his original statement. McGee is now serving a sentence of 17 years for the murder, plus more time for related charges.

Jermaine was arrested and charged with capital murder-for-hire. In 2000, he was found guilty of a lesser, non-included charge, first-degree murder. He is now serving a life sentence on that charge, plus 38 years for related charges – all for a murder with which he had nothing to do.

Jermaine maintains he was set up by Norfolk Detective Glenn Ford, who he says was demanding money from him in return for not finding a reason to arrest him. Detective Ford is now serving a 12.5 year prison sentence after being convicted in another case of extortion. According to an article in The Virginian-Pilot newspaper, Ford was “accused of accepting money from criminal suspects in exchange for getting them favorable treatment within the court system.” He was also convicted of lying to the FBI during an investigation of the extortion.

Ford was also the lead investigator in the controversial case of the Norfolk Four, sailors convicted of a murder/rape but whom many believe were framed.

Jermaine's parents, Ray and Willie Mae Doss, have spent more than $100,000 in lawyers' fees trying to free their son. Jermaine's current lawyer says there is nothing more he can do: even though the courts used McGee's original statement to convict Jermaine, they now say he is not a reliable witness.

Having exhausted their resources, the Dosses do not have the money necessary to mount a federal appeal. Jermaine, now 39, faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison for a crime he did not commit.

We are asking that Gov. McAuliffe look into this case, see the injustice that has been committed and issue a pardon to free Jermaine Doss.

Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality started this petition with a single signature, and now has 318 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.