Free Derrick Hansford! Enough is Enough ~ Over 20 Years Later!

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My stepmom and I started a petition over 6 years ago on behalf of my brother, Derrick L. Hansford. Our goal was to receive enough signatures in support of our fight to free him from prison after serving 15 years of a 30 year, unjust sentence. Two years ago, we started another petition with the same hopes. Today, after serving more than 20 years, we are still fighting for my brother to return home to his family.  

Prior to Governor Terry McAuliffe leaving office, Derrick's attorney submitted a request for a pardon. To date, we have not received a response. Even with the new Governor taking office, there are no guarantees that Derrick will be released.  

In the last petition, we received 242 signatures with a goal of at least 500. We are now hoping, with this petition we will reach that 500. Please help us....

Derrick's Story:

Derrick L. Hansford, #1025525 is currently incarcerated within the Virginia State Prison system where he is serving a 30-year sentence. Derrick was sentenced to 50 years/20 suspended for a crime of 'robbery' without a weapon, and no physical assault upon the victim.

Derrick has already served over 20 years of the 30, but not without consistently working to obtain relief from this harsh and cruel sentence. Unfortunately, he has exhausted all remedies of appeal and habeas corpus.

Since his sentence, Derrick has worked diligently to make positive changes in his life; and has done so successfully both spiritually and educationally. He has embraced spirituality which has kept him grounded and allowed him the strength to change within, and he has attended school and since received his certification in drug and alcohol counseling with hopes to intervene in the lives of those suffering from addiction. Derrick's accomplishments over the years are plenty, and too many to list here. 

To add, Derrick has his parents (his mother with him in the picture above), siblings, a daughter, a wife, a ton of aunts, uncles, and cousins hopefully awaiting his return home. We all support him and believe that he will be a positive influence in his community and in the lives of those experiencing some of what he had prior to his incarceration.  

Please understand that we are not proclaiming Derrick to be innocent of his crime. Drug addiction played a role in his poor decision to do what he did that day; however, we believe that even that is no excuse for committing a crime and therefore, believe that he should have been punished...but he should have been punished fairly. Serving 30 years for this particular crime is clearly harsh, unjust and excessive.

In sentencing Derrick to a total of 30 years in prison, the judge made a radical departure from what the sentencing guidelines called for. Those guidelines called for a sentence in the range of two years and five months to five years, with a midpoint of four years. Derrick’s sentence was six times the upper range of the guidelines. The 22 years he has already served are more than four times that upper range. Derrick’s defense attorney, an experienced and well-respected member of the bar, has stated that he “was shocked and stunned at the severity of the sentence, which drastically exceeded the upper range of the sentencing guidelines and was out of proportion to any upward departure I have ever encountered.”

We, the Petitioners plead to the mercy of the Commonwealth of Virginia, asking that the severity of Derrick’s sentence be recognized and addressed. We ask and call for a clemency or pardon, and ask that Derrick is given an opportunity to a second chance to live as and become a productive member of society.



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