Topic

Clemency

276 petitions

Update posted 4 days ago

Petition to Bruce Rauner, Illinois Prisoner Review Board

Clemency for 14 year old sentenced in 2007 to 25 years, serving a mandatory time of 100%.

What were you doing at the age of 14? Now imagine facing a 25 year prison sentence at this age? Do you feel a split second decision should determine your whole life that was made at 14? And are you the same person now that you were then? This was the case for one young man 10 years ago, a child being punished as an adult. In 2007 Brian Harrington Jr. was 14 years old when he found himself in an unfortunate and accidental situation with the law. An older relative of Brian had set up a gun sale with another young man in the neighborhood where Brian resided. On this day a split second decision changed the lives of those involved forever, ultimately the unfortunate loss of a life and the imprisonment of Brian. In the process of the sale, the gun was handed to Brian by another relative, and without the knowledge that the gun was loaded, Brian reached in to display the gun. In this moment the buyer attempted to drive away, the reaction instinctively of Brian was to move away pulling the gun back, accidentally discharging the gun. This was the moment that changed everything. Later Brian would be in custody along with the others involved. He was facing manslaughter charges due to it being an accident. Brian was interrogated without representation and a legal guardian. He was told he was lying, this was not an accident, and the goal was to rob the young man. When Brian's relatives were questioned they also stated an accidental situation took place, they were given the option to claim the situation as a robbery attempt to enhance their chances to go home. They complied, in doing so Brian's charges were changed to felony first degree murder. Brian was automatically transferred to adult court and tried as an adult. At 14 years old Brian was sentenced under the same previsions and guidelines as an adult would if found in the same situation. Facing a 25 to a life sentence, Brian took a plea of 25 years and was placed under Illinois's Truth in Sentencing law. This TIS is a mandatory percent of time to be served, in his case 100%, no possibility of parole.  Now 10 years in to his sentence, Brian still thinks of the young man and his family. He wishes the best for them, and would hope for them to know he never intentionally meant to hurt anyone. Brian has seen 7 different facilities, and has made the decision to make the best out of his situation and self educate. He has achieved his G.E.D, he recently graduated with honors with an Associate Degree, studies law, active in the basketball team and coaches the baseball team, is an extremely talented portrait artist and writer, and works within the facility. Our goal is to have his sentence revisited and clemency granted by the governor of Illinois, in hopes of bringing Brian home sooner. If Brian receives no relief he will return to the world as a 40 year old man after completing his entire sentence for something that was ultimately an accident, 14-40?  By bring exposure to his situation, and with your support we hope to reach our goal. Thank you for your support. Instagram @kingmoosaproject

Jessica H.
313 supporters
Update posted 1 week ago

Petition to Donald Trump, Lawrence Kupers

Grant clemency to my innocent uncle serving undeserved decades in prison

In July 2000, I was a few months old when my uncle Mohamad Hammoud was arrested. As I grew up, I learned and read so many good things about him. He was very kind to his family, to his friends, and to those who knew him. Everyone I met who knew my uncle had something good to say about him. Then, I wondered, what did my uncle do to deserve all these years in prison? I will share with you what I have learned about my uncle's case with the hopes that you can join me in helping him get his freedom and go back to his family in Lebanon. My uncle made mistakes: First, he violated the immigration law, so he could stay in our country, America, and not return to the poverty and war in his country, Lebanon. He had wanted his future children to be American and to grow up in America ... like me. He did not want his children to go through what he went through. As a young boy, my uncle witnessed only war, poverty, and death. When my uncle was 13, his father died, leaving the family in dire straits. My uncle did not have medical care or clothes of his own. Even a toy would have been a luxury. The second mistake my uncle made was avoiding paying taxes on cigarettes that he sold to out-state customers. In 1996, after four years of living in America, going to college, working as a delivery driver for Domino's Pizza, and being married, my uncle was still unable to support himself or his family in Lebanon. Then, he learned that some Lebanese people were transporting cigarettes from North Carolina to Michigan in order to take advantage of the excise tax difference. In his early 20s, he was convinced it was a harmless way to generate more income to help himself and his family in Lebanon. Regrettably, he ventured into the business but quit two years later. My uncle and his wife obtained a bank loan and with their earnings invested in a convenience store gas station, which they ran. One day in July 2000, while my uncle's mother (my grandmother) was visiting him, the FBI burst into my uncle's house. They woke up everyone in the house and arrested my uncle in front of his mother. As he was being escorted to a waiting car, his mother collapsed, but he was not allowed to help her. My uncle was informed by investigators that he was being charged with not paying excise tax on cigarettes (from two years prior) and immigration violations. On the day of his arrest, my uncle was questioned by authorities about things that he had no knowledge of. And, they told him that if he told them what he knew, they would let him call his mother, whom he left unconscious. My uncle was having a hard time understanding what was going on and why the authorities were doing this to him and his family. He knew many people who were arrested for cigarette transportation but none went to jail. Eventually, he discovered the reason why when an inmate let him read the newspaper. The article said that authorities arrested a Hezbollah cell, and its leader was my uncle! My uncle could not believe his eyes: even in America he could be arrested for something he did not do. Even though the media cast my uncle as a terrorist leader on the day of his arrest, he was not charged with Hezbollah related charges until after the tragedy of 9/11. The government seized all my uncle's possessions. This left him with no money to retain a lawyer. To make matters worse, the court appointed a young defense attorney who had never tried a case before. His inexperience showed throughout the trial. The prosecution kept my uncle in jail while they spent years of extensive investigation to link him in some way to any violation related to Hezbollah (the organization that my uncle was accused of supporting and leading a cell of in North Carolina). But they could not. However, when the tragedy of 9/11 happened, the world changed, and my uncle's life changed forever. A person of interest by the name of Said Harb, who was my uncle's "codefendant," was facing a life sentence for many serious offenses. He seized the opportunity and signed a plea deal: The prosecution would reduce Harb's sentence to forty-one months in prison rather than life. They would also bring twelve members of Harb's family to live in America. Harb spent tens of thousands of dollars to bring his family to America but could not do it on his own. In return, Harb would testify that in 1999, my uncle sent two checks in the amount of $3,500 to a friend in Lebanon who was a Hezbollah member. There was no proof of this even though the prosecution subpoenaed all my uncle's financial accounts. There was no trace of these supposed checks. On several occasions, my uncle offered the prosecution to interview him and to give him a polygraph test to prove that he was neither a Hezbollah member, nor that he had sent money to Hezbollah. Ironically, the prosecutor turned down my uncle's offers although my uncle supposedly was a Hezbollah cell leader and the first one ever to be charged under this law. Yet, the prosecutor was not interested "to learn how Hezbollah operates in America"! The prosecution offered my uncle a plea deal to admit his guilt and receive a sentence in the range of 7 to 20 years in prison. He rejected the plea offer, for he knew he did not send money to Hezbollah. Believing in our justice system, my uncle went to trial to contest the Hezbollah charges but was convicted and sentenced to 155 years. After years of suffering, attorney James McLoughlin, who represented my uncle on appeal and resentencing, won my uncle's appeal and my uncle's sentence was reduced to 30 years, which was still wildly disproportionate. My uncle was the first Mohamad, the first Middle Easterner, and the first Muslim to go to trial on material support charges after 9/11. Consequently, his case became publicized and attracted media attention around the country. Before I tell you how my uncle was convicted, I would like to share with you some authentic quotations that summarize my uncle's case: The first is an admission by Mr. Bell, the prosecutor, which clearly shows his motive in prosecuting my uncle: "I knew this was the case of a lifetime. It was a career maker," he told the author of Lightning Out of Lebanon (no wonder why Mr. Bell refused to interview my uncle and give him a polygraph test and why he quit his government job to work for one of the biggest law firms in Charlotte, North Carolina).  The second is by Appellate Judge Gregory, which unequivocally proves that there was no evidence that my uncle had sent money to Hezbollah: "The government admits that the only source of information indicating that Hammoud was sending money to Hezbollah was Said Harb. Mr. Harb was described throughout the trial as untrustworthy, manipulative, a liar, and an exaggerator - I have found no testimony in the record completing this chain that allegedly stretched from Hammoud to Harake [Hezbollah]." The third is by District Judge Mullen, which demonstrates that no money was sent to Hezbollah's violent activity: "There was no proof he [my uncle] raised funds for violent Hezbollah activity ... it was not a crime of violence or a potential conspiracy to commit violence." The Fourth is by Professor Hajjar, who served at the U.S Army college. His quotation was found on the internet in a monograph he wrote about Hezbollah: "No open convincing evidence exists that these groups [including my uncle and his friends] are cells organized and controlled by Hezbollah in Lebanon." Additionally, at resentencing, attorney McLoughlin subpoenaed Mr. Robert Baer. Mr. Baer was a former CIA officer and Hezbollah expert with over 35 years of experience. He is also the author of many books about Hezbollah. He testified that the evidence at the trial did not link my uncle to Hezbollah; the evidence showed that my uncle was a Lebanese nationalist. Importantly, Mr. Baer was not paid for his testimony. Now, you may wonder, if the above statements are true, then how did the jury convict my uncle? Knowing that there was no evidence against my uncle to convict him on Hezbollah charges, the prosecutor planned his trial strategy on the fear and anger of 9/11: 1. Before and during my uncle's trial, the prosecution saturated the media with alleged acts of terrorism perpetrated in the '80s by Hezbollah. This tactic was purposely done to further inflame the public, regardless of the fact that my uncle was a child in the '80s. 2. The security around the court and the way my uncle was escorted from and to the court could only be described as ostentatious. They transported my uncle in armored trucks and police convoys. They even transported the jury from secret locations to the court. However, when the media was not outside the court, they transported my uncle with other inmates in a van! 3. The prosecutor played to the jury a few seconds out of 90-minute videotape documentaries in which people and Hezbollah members in Lebanon chat "death to Israel, death to America." Then, the prosecutor argued to the jury that my uncle had these documentary tapes because of the few seconds. There was no evidence that my uncle had seen these tapes before or that they were his. These tapes were not even converted to the American system (so no one saw them). 4. The prosecutor paid $ 25,000 to Mr. Matthew Levitt to testify at the trial as an expert even though Mr. Levitt had never testified as an expert before. He did not speak Arabic and had never been to Lebanon. Oddly enough, ten years after my uncle's conviction, Mr. Levitt authored a book about Hezbollah in which he contradicted his trial testimony. 5. When my uncle took the stand in his defense, the prosecutor several times asked him about the terrorist events that occurred in the '80s when my uncle was a child and kept reminding the jury of these events as if my uncle had planned them. My uncle won a partial victory in his appeal. His 155 years was reduced to 30 years, but the average sentence for providing material support was 4 years and 5 months as Mr. McLoughlin showed the court at the resentencing hearing. There was no explanation as to why the judge, who acknowledged that my uncle did not support violence, sentenced him similarly to those who committed violent acts. Mr. Mclughlin later discovered that the judge had written his sentencing memorandum a day before the sentencing hearing was finalized (this means the judge had made his mind up before the hearing was completed.) For the last 15 years, my uncle and his family have been suffering because of a crime that my uncle is innocent of. And my uncle has been fighting for his freedom to go back to his family in Lebanon, but the justice system has not shown him justice. Mr. McLoughlin, who helped my uncle for years without any financial compensation, filed a clemency petition on my uncle behalf. He wrote: "I have known Mr. Hammoud for fourteen years. I know him well. We speak and correspond frequently. In my 30 plus years of practice I can point to no other sentence that I believe is as unfair as this one. Mr. Hammoud is not a 'Jihadi.' He is a man who came to the U.S. as an 18 year old to join his brothers, who became involved in cigarette tax avoidance, and sent money back to his home country. He was unextraordinary in 2001, but came to trial in an extraordinary time. Today, he is a mature, thoughtful, well read man. I consider him a friend. He is unfailingly and genuinely appreciative of this law firm's efforts on his behalf and he makes the effort to say so. His 30 year sentence for non-violent offense, which takes away his entire adult life, denies his ever having a wife and children, and completely isolates him from his immediate family and his home, is extraordinary." Now it is your time to join us and sign this petition so that justice may be served and my uncle can go back to his family and elderly mother before she passes away in Lebanon. Please sign the petition and I would also really appreciate it if you could share it as well. Thank you, and to learn more about my uncle, please visit his website at mohamadhammoud.org.

Mohamad Hammoud
1,145 supporters
Update posted 1 week ago

Petition to Louisiana Governor, John Bel Edwards

Call Louisiana's Governor and tell him to FREE COREY MILLER. JOHN BEL EDWARDS

Call Louisiana's Governor and tell him to FREE COREY MILLER.JOHN BEL EDWARDSPhone: (985) 386-9525 The justice system should be to protect the innocent and to imprison the guilty. The justice system has done Corey Miller wrong. Corey Miller was wrongly convicted due to his rap personality. The Louisiana supreme court have denied Corey Miller's appeals and a retrial. The Louisiana supreme court did the same thing to: Glenn Ford, he was wrongfully convicted in a Louisiana murder case. Glenn Ford left the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, La., in 2014. His conviction in a murder case was vacated after he spent more than 29 years on death row. He died less than two months after he was released. From untreated lung cancer while in prison in Angola!!! Corey Miller should not have to endure the same torture Glenn Ford went through. There are visible flaws in the Louisiana justice system. The death penalty need to be abolished. Errors, negligence and deliberate misconduct by prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers are the most pervasive cause of wrongful convictions in Louisiana. Court appointed lawyers caused, at least in part, 77% of the convictions in Louisiana . Please free a man that has been wrongfully convicted of a crime he did not commit. How can you convict a person of murder if there wasno evidence to convict Corey Miller. There was -NO GUN -NO D.N.A -NO EVIDENCE TO CONVICT But, this man is sitting in prison serving a life sentence while the real man who did this crime is out there running the streets free to commit other crimes. Please take a moment of your time and sign this petition and help Corey Miller be free. Corey need to come home to his family. So that he can enjoy his life with his family and be a father to his 3 daughters. Please overturn Corey Miller conviction he should not be locked up for a crime that he did not commit!!! What would you do if it was your family member was wrongfully convicted of a crime? Corey Miller need to be exonerated and released from prison and compensated for the wrongful conviction. He should not have to rot in prison like so many other men in Angola and like Glenn Ford. Corey Miller deserve to be heard and he should be released from prison!!!

Kimberly Fuqua
2,383 supporters
Update posted 2 weeks ago

Petition to John Hickenlooper, Alan Loeb, Catherine P. Adkisson

Release Rene Lima-Marin

My husband Rene Michael Lima-Marin was incarcerated in 1998 at the age of 19 and served 10 years of his 16 year sentence for robbery in which he used an unloaded gun and no one was hurt. He was released in 2008 and placed on parole which he successfully completed in 2013. But in January 2014 it was determined that a clerical error had been made and he was sent back to prison for an additional 90 years.   During his six years of freedom, Rene strived to be a productive member of society.  He had been rehabilitated and took full advantage of this second chance; we had a child, purchased a home, and got married. He coached his step-son’s soccer team, mentored other youth to stay out of trouble, and maintained full time employment so he could support our family. To take him away from our family and lock him up for the rest of his life is unjust. I certainly do not want to make light of the mistakes that Rene made as a teenager but I do call into question the life sentence Rene and our family faces. Does a man that was formally released from the penal system, met all the conditions of this release, and turned his life around deserve this type of justice? Are we as a society really willing to accept that a clerical error is enough justification to rip apart a family?   Rehabilitate means to help re-adapt, as to a former state of health or good repute. The entire penal system was created to rehabilitate and restore individuals to be productive members of society.   Please sign my petition asking Attorney General John Suthers, Arapahoe County Chief Judge William Blair Sylvester, and Colorado Appeals Chief Judge Alan Loeb to release Rene from this unjust sentencing. I ask for this so he may return home where he can continue to be a tax paying model employee, an engaged and loving father and a supportive husband.

Jasmine Lima-Marin
285,914 supporters