Topic

Clemency

134 petitions

Update posted 2 weeks ago

Petition to Governor Terry McAuliffe

Decriminalize Autism and Save Drew

Our son, Drew Harrison, has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and is currently serving three active years of a 50-year prison sentence. Drew’s Autism was not taken into consideration at trial or sentencing. We are petitioning Governor McAuliffe to grant Drew a pardon. Drew reconnected with a woman he had dated in high school. The evening before inviting him to her apartment she shared her interest in BDSM, submissive sex. She told Drew that her boyfriend was too tired after work to please her sexually. Upon arrival she laid a blanket on the floor, she allowed him to massage her shoulders and feet, she showed him her semi-nude, erotic photos of herself and engaged in sexualized talk. In the bedroom he easily removed her shirt and pants. Drew gave the woman oral sex and put a finger in her vagina. When she told him to stop he stopped. The two of them texted and emailed back and forth hundreds of times post event. They even got together a few times. On one occasion they went to a bookstore where she pointed out an erotic BDSM book for Drew to buy. Six months after the evening in her apartment she reported to the police that the contact in her bedroom was nonconsensual. Those with ASD typically have a strike or two against them when entering a courtroom. The pace of questioning often exceeds their ability to process everything that is heard. Their high anxiety and repetitive statements can be mistaken as indicators of deception or guilt. Without an understanding of their unique way of processing information and their difficulty expressing anger appropriately a court can easily question credibility and reach a faulty conclusion.  Drew’s therapist testified that Drew has a strong desire to please, that he has learned to fake well in order to fit in. The judge interpreted this as our son’s ability to be deceitful and he used it as part of the reason for convicting Drew. He never asked the autism experts in the courtroom for clarification regarding Drew’s social and communication deficits.  In a letter presented to the judge Drew’s probation officer noted that Drew complied with all probation conditions for over two years. She stated that if this were a regular case without the appeal process she would request early release from probation. She added that Drew passed the state-issued polygraph without deception. Results were consistent with the not guilty plea Drew has maintained from the beginning.      The judge stated that he didn’t view Drew as a threat to the community or the woman. He emphasized that he was sending Drew to prison as a general deterrence to others because that is what the community would want him to do. Drew’s therapists are convinced that Drew is innocent of the crime for which he was convicted. They warned the court that incarceration would be torture for our son. In prison Drew suffered a break down after abrupt medication changes and being moved from isolation into general population. To deaden his senses from loud clanging doors, the bright buzzing lights and the chatter of inmates Drew often wears ear plugs and wraps a shirt around his head. He struggles to navigate the unwritten rules of inmates. Drew lives in fear and overwhelm. He begs us, “Please get me out of here”. Prison visits are bittersweet. We are grateful to spend time with our son, but heartbroken as we see him deteriorate. We are asking Governor McAuliffe to grant Drew a pardon. We ask for your support by signing this petition. My blog savedrew.com gives additional details and excerpts from transcripts. It shows the considerable reasonable doubt and injustice.  Thank you, Judy and John Harrison       

Judy Harrison
3,156 supporters
Update posted 3 weeks ago

Petition to Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Jeff sessions

President Trump: Meet with Clemency Recipients.

Before leaving office, President Obama sat down for lunch with six people who were released from prison after being granted clemency by U.S. presidents. Three people with sentences commuted by Obama were joined by two who were freed by President George W. Bush and two by President Bill Clinton.    He ate a meal with these people, some of whom had recently spent over two decades in prison, and listened to their stories. Yes, they had made mistakes but as nonviolent drug offenders, the sentences they received were unfair. These people have gone on to rebuild their families, get jobs and become taxpayers, and are giving back to their communities. Unfortunately, President Trump disagreed with President Obama's use of clemency for nonviolent drug offenders and one year after his inauguration there is no indication that he will use his presidential pardoning power to help people.  However, Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser recently convened a "listening session" for Trump about criminal justice reform. That's a great sign that Trump understands the importance of this issue, but this meeting did not include anyone who received clemency.   President Trump could learn so much from clemency recipients if he takes just a few moments to listen to their stories and understand why clemency from the president is so important. These are hardworking people, and often people of faith, who have overcome incredible obstacles and are now doing great things with their freedom — exactly the kind of success stories President Trump often talks about.     Please sign this petition asking President Trump or other members of his administration to meet with clemency recipients. 

Nation of Second Chances
25,226 supporters
This petition won 3 weeks ago

Petition to Jerry Brown, California Governor

Reduce my son's unjust sentence

My son Jeremy Stewart has been given 70 years in prison for stealing. He was convicted of burglarizing two homes while the residents were out. There was no confrontation, no threats, and no violence. California has the toughest Three strikes law allowing life sentences for property theft. My son had two prior nonviolent offenses, the judge made the decision to enforce the law to the fullest. I have been fighting for a fairer punishment ever since. Under previous California law, Jeremy would have most likely been sentenced to about 12-15 years in prison. But because of California's 3 Strikes law, Jeremy received a harsher sentence than drug cartel hit men who had confessed to killing more than 20 people. They only got 25-years-to-life. Jeremy's poor decisions were made while he was dealing with a serious drug addiction and depression. He needed treatment and rehabilitation.This doesn't excuse his conduct and he knows he needs to face consequences for his actions. But 70 years to life with no good time credits allowed, means he won't be eligible for parole until he is 96. The cost, 5 million dollars to taxpayers. This is an unjust and  inhumane death sentence, all for nonviolent offense. Jeremy is not the only one being punished -- I am raising his two children in his absence. Every day, these innocent young children suffer emotionally missing their father. I struggle financially working to afford day care and their basic needs.This unjust sentence means his children will never be able share the same four walls as their father. He should have an opportunity to earn the right to return home to provide for his two young children, Heatherly and David, currently ages 5 and 6. Today Jeremy is serving his sentence at Centenila State Prison. He tutors other inmates, leads the Christian worship services and the Narcotics Anonymous group. He currently has a 4.0 GPA through Coastline College and will soon be graduating, just 4 more classes to go. He has been a model prisoner. Jeremy made a terrible mistake, but should a nonviolent crime put him behind bars for life?  A Petition for Clemency has been sent to Governor Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown to exercise his discretion and reduce Jeremy's sentence. I am asking the Governor to reduce his sentence to 20 years. I humbly and respectfully request your support. Please sign my petition and stand by me and my family as we fight to give Jeremy the chance to come home one day. Thank you. Elizabeth Stewart

Elizabeth stewart
55,679 supporters