criminal justice reform
Petition to Missouri Governor
Free Gypsy Rose Blanchard
On July 5, 2016 Gypsy Rose Blanchard received a sentenced of 10 years to a Missouri State prison after reaching a plea deal to charges of second degree murder of her lifelong abusive mother. The case was highly profiled and received national news coverage. HBO made a documentary film called "Mommy Dead and Dearest" directed by Erin Lee Carr which aired May 15, 2017. The documentary features home movies, interviews from family members, doctors, friends, experts, attorneys and a one on one with Gypsy filmed the same day she accepted the plea deal. It is a non-biased look at the case and will certainly challenge anyone to really think about whether or not Gypsy is now where she deserves to be. Gypsy was forced all her life to fake a long list of ailments and illnesses including leukemia, vision and hearing impairment, sleep apnea, retardation, muscular dystrophy, and a chromosome disorder and digestive disorders. Her mother Dee Dee Blanchard suffered from a disease called Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome, a relatively rare form of child abuse that involves the exaggeration or fabrication of illnesses or symptoms by a primary caregiver. Dee Dee convinced multiple doctors that Gypsy was sick child all her life starting from an age of just three months old. By 6 years old Gypsy was deemed paralyzed from the waist down from muscular dystrophy and had a feeding tube implant. The whole time being completely healthy and forced to fake her symptoms during doctors visits and while out in public. Even her closest neighbors and friends had no clue Gypsy's predicament. By her late teens Dee Dee began documenting Gypsy's actual age as much younger and was shaving Gypsy's head and telling everyone Gypsy had Leukemia and was retarded. Dee Dee completely controlled Gypsy's food intake through a feeding tube often times medicating her without her knowing while she slept. Dee Dee convinced doctors to remove Gypsy's saliva glands by applying oral gel numbing cream in her mouth so it appeared she was drooling constantly. Her teeth all fell out from all the medication Dee Dee had pumped into her over the years. Gypsy tried running away once and was caught within 4 hours, then Dee Dee handcuffed her to a bed for 2 weeks. Dee Dee was using Gypsy's illnesses as part of her scamming multiple organizations for money, housing, care, Disney trips, attention, and free flights to hospitals. After an anonymous call was placed about Gypsy's well being, local police department visited their home and Dee Dee convinced them that Gypsy was being well taken care of and her illnesses were legitimate. At this point Gypsy says she had no other way out of this life of captivity confined to a wheelchair, a feeding tube and very limited social interaction. Although having only been educated to a second grade level, Gypsy became desperate after falling in love with Nicholas Godejohn 27, a young man from Wisconsin whom she met on a Christian dating website. Gypsy tried coordinating a meeting between Nicholas and Dee Dee at a local movie theater and Dee totally despised him as Gypsy recalls. So here she was, captive all her life, in love with no escaping Dee Dee, her own mother. Nicholas suffers from a form of autism and displayed having multiple personalities from evidence presented in court. Gypsy and Nick planned and murdered Dee Dee in her sleep on June 13, 2015. Nicholas stabbed Dee Dee multiple times and slit her neck while Gypsy hid in the bathroom. Together they fled to Nicholas's parent's home back in Wisconsin, thinking they could finally be together and Gypsy could be free at last. Gypsy recalls and acknowledges what she did was wrong and without hesitation admits now, that 10 years in prison is better than 10 years living under her mother's abuse. I am Gypsy's Father Rod Blanchard. I too was lead to believe Gypsy was sick her whole life. Dee Dee and I were married then separated during her pregnancy. I was 17 Dee Dee was 23. I have always tried to be the best father I could, but Dee Dee always kept my relationship with Gypsy very limited. I always provided financial and moral support to them even after Gypsy turned 18 I continued to pay $1,200 a month in child support payments because I was convinced that Gypsy was disabled and Dee Dee spent all of her time caring for Gypsy. They were relocated from Louisiana to Missouri after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and they would become unavailable just prior to my planned visits to see them. We maintained a relationship but only by phone calls and cards and gifts. Dee Dee always coached, filtered and monitored Gypsy and I's communications. We all have failed Gypsy, her mother, the doctors, the police, and myself. Any one of us could have done more to free her from hell with her mother. She never had a chance, she was brainwashed, threatened. Living in fearful captivity in a child's body her entire life, she never got to blossom into the beautiful young woman she deserves to be. How is this any different than a wife snapping and killing her abusive husband? Why? Because she planned it? She believed this was her only escape.. that was her reality. Watch the documentary, watch her interview. I'm petitioning for any relief to Gypsy's 10 year sentence, a shorter sentence, perhaps relocation to a mental facility where she can get the better help she needs. Gypsy has a loving family and community waiting, supporting her every step of the way to freedom. She calls home 3-4 times a week and spends hours on the phone with her amazing step mother, my wife Kristy. She has a younger brother Dylan 22 and sister Mia 16. She has suffered long enough. Please help her come home. She is serving time in Chillicothe Corrections Center in Missouri. She is eligible for parole in 2024, she will be 32. She appears completely healthy and in good spirits, although we don't know if there were any long term physical effects from the abuse. Thank You for your signature and support Rod Blanchard Jr. http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/father-gypsy-blanchard-speaks-mommy-dead-dearest-47410578 https://mommydeadanddearest.com/ https://www.buzzfeed.com/michelledean/dee-dee-wanted-her-daughter-to-be-sick-gypsy-wanted-her-mom?utm_term=.kdQPqxo5g#.pd4VZ4Nxa
Petition to Stephen Sinclair, Robert Herzog, Roy Gonzalez, Jay Inslee
Stop Washington from banning free books for prisoners
UPDATE - 4-10-19The Seattle Times has just reviewed the list of the supposed incidents of contraband found in mailed books in 2018. This list of alleged contraband was the basis for this ban as well as a later press release. After review, the Seattle Times determined that none of the alleged incidents involved mailed books of any kind, much less Books to Prisoners. This ban, therefore, is completely baseless and MUST be repealed immediately. Read more.UPDATE #2 - 4-10-19 (4 pm) The Washington Department of Corrections has published a memo to update its Used Publications Policy.After review, we find that it is insufficient and leaves plenty of need for negotiation with the DOC during our scheduled Friday meeting. Our goal is not just to restore access for Books to Prisoners Seattle but for all concerned community groups which share the mission of providing quality, free used books to prisoners in Washington. On page 2, for example, the DOC has explicitly written that the practice of allowing for each facility superintendent to approve or deny nonprofit vendors will continue—this is an example of a policy which has caused plenty of frustration over the past years, as the DOC heads have used it as a basis to encroach ever further on the abilities of prison book programs to send books. We are very happy that first steps are being taken, but there's still a lot of work to ensure that prisoners retain necessary access to books! STOP WASHINGTON FROM BANNING FREE BOOKS FOR PRISONERS The Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) has just prohibited all nonprofit organizations from mailing free, used books to every prisoner in this state.Across the country, dozens of volunteer nonprofits respond directly to prisoners' book requests; together, these groups send about 200,000 free books every year to people behind bars, from westerns and science fiction novels to books about starting businesses after release. Access to information in prisons is a lifeline for literacy and skill-building; the humble dictionary, a book which most of us no longer possess as a physical book, is the number one request by prisoners because good sources of information are so scarce.For the many prisoners and their families who can't afford to buy new books, free, used books are a lifeline; for prisoners in solitary confinement (around 80,000 at any given time), these book donations may be the only reading material they have. We love prison libraries and their hard-working staff, but they are chronically underfunded, understaffed, and not accessible for all prisoners or open when needed. In Pennsylvania, for example, prisoners are allowed a maximum of 90 minutes per week at the prison library. Additionally, books checked out from prison libraries must be returned and may not be available at any given time due to circulation; by contrast, books mailed from prison book programs belong to prisoners forever as personal property. Four facilities in Washington don't even have on-site libraries, an indication of the ongoing need for services like prison book programs to fill the gaps.This ban will deny incarcerated people in Washington access to literally thousands of books.Groups like the Prison Book Program in Massachusetts, Books to Prisoners in Washington, and LGBT Books to Prisoners in Wisconsin have successfully sent books without incident to Washington prisoners since 1973. Sadly, this isn't the first time that a DOC has attempted to ban our programs. In 2018 alone, both Pennsylvania and New York attempted similar bans. Most attempted bans cite security reasons -- though few (if any) can cite a single instance where a prison book program ever sent contraband material. Together, we stopped these attempted bans in Pennsylvania and New York in 2018; let's stop it now in Washington.Please join other prison book program supporters to contact the Washington DOC and Governor Jay Inslee's office and demand that this new policy -- a memo amended to policy 450.100 -- be rescinded at once. #PrisonersNeedBooks(The memo in question, "03-12-19 Memo for employees", can be found here, below the entry for 450.100: https://doc.wa.gov/information/policies/default.aspx?show=400) (The second memo, dated 04-10-19, can be read here: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5816599-Updated-Used-Publication-Memo-4-10-19.html) Media coverage: https://www.king5.com/video/news/local/washington-prisons-ban-used-books/281-ad2cb9a4-6a19-4c56-b294-f7bd23982053 https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2019/04/01/39782896/washington-prisoners-may-no-longer-be-able-to-receive-donated-books https://bookriot.com/2019/04/03/book-ban-in-washington-prisons/ https://www.kuow.org/stories/doc-sano-more-donated-books-for-inmates https://seattlereviewofbooks.com/notes/2019/04/03/how-you-can-help-fight-for-the-right-to-read-in-washington-state-prisons/ https://mynorthwest.com/1331272/washington-doc-used-books-prisoners/ https://q13fox.com/2019/04/01/state-dept-of-corrections-bans-used-books-in-washington-prisons/ https://www.kxly.com/news/wa-dept-of-corrections-to-no-longer-allow-nonprofit-book-donations/1065587956 https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/prison-officials-quiet-ban-on-used-books-sent-by-mail-draws-concern-in-olympia/ https://pen.org/press-release/washington-state-bans-book-donations-prisons-misguided/ https://nonprofitquarterly.org/2019/04/05/book-banning-proves-still-wildly-unpopular-as-prison-program-takes-to-twitter/ https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/4/5/1848075/-Washington-state-corrections-quietly-tries-to-ban-non-profits-from-sending-prisoners-books https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/washington-corrections-secretary-vows-to-make-sure-prisoners-can-still-get-used-books/ https://www.kiro7.com/news/local/anger-over-doc-decision-to-ban-used-books-from-seattle-nonprofit/937943638 http://mynorthwest.com/1338566/washington-prisons-books/ https://www.heraldnet.com/opinion/editorial-restore-prisoners-access-to-books-pell-grants/ https://www.theroot.com/washington-state-bans-free-books-to-prisoners-for-no-lo-1833915004 http://www.ifiberone.com/news/shaky-ground-for-doc-policy-denying-books-to-prisoners/article_a70b58d4-5b11-11e9-96b3-fba7efc3c5da.html https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/corrections-officials-claims-of-contraband-in-used-books-mailed-to-washington-inmates-doesnt-add-up/ https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/washington-corrections-officials-reverse-ban-will-allow-prisoners-to-get-used-books-in-the-mail/ https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/washington-prisons-reverse-ban-on-used-book-donations/281-2eb1beb5-c028-476d-9092-db6b500704e4 https://bookriot.com/2019/04/10/washington-department-of-corrections-meets-with-book-donors-updating-policy/ https://www.yakimaherald.com/opinion/editorial-a-welcome-happy-ending-to-the-books-to-prisoners/article_7f08a452-5ba9-11e9-ae73-4f30dc5885dd.html https://www.inlander.com/spokane/washingtons-prisons-quietly-banned-nonprofits-from-giving-used-books-to-inmates-prompting-criticism-and-a-partial-walkback/Content?oid=17318211 Books to Prisoners social media: https://twitter.com/B2PSeattle https://www.facebook.com/seattlebtp/ I started this petition because...I have been a volunteer with Books to Prisoners in Seattle since 2012. I have seen firsthand the power of books behind bars as tools for learning, self-empowerment, and as a reminder that prisoners have not been forgotten. Learn more about Books to Prisoners Seattle at www.bookstoprisoners.net
Petition to NAACP, Vivian Figures, DeMarcus Cousins, Frederick D. Richardson, meek mill, Kay Ivey
Grant clemency for Ezlinglm E. non violent sentenced to life on marijuana charges
What’s right is right...The laws are changing everyday but only for some of us. I just want the world to know that good people are not perfect they do sometimes fall short but it does not make them bad. There are so many unjust cases that have been closed without a second thought and it saddens me. When sentencing, the person should be examined and not just considering what’s on documentation, because it is not necessarily who they are. How could someone paint a picture without ever seeing the image? Ezlinglm Demetrius Earl 30 years of age; a son, brother, loving father, family man and a well appreciated veteran was sentenced to life in an Alabama state prison on marijuana charges. As, we all know marijuana is now a growing business, that is now legal in numerous of states. It is a growing pain to know that there are people given this unruly sentencing all because of their location. It is almost unbelievable but it is true, this is going on now this sentence was given late 2018. The justice system was supposedly built on fairness but honestly that’s something I can’t agree to because I haven’t seen much of that...there are murderers, rapists and maybe even terrorists that are given lesser sentences. My hopes are to justify the unjust, speak for those that are unable, reveal true images of those wrongfully painted, and my ultimate goal is to help place loved ones back with their families. Instead of in prisons like animals for semi-legal crimes. Clemency is clearly needed here. Please look into this case to release Ezlinglm D. Earl.
Petition to Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, President of the United States
Release Corvain Cooper from Life Imprisonment Without Parole for Marijuana
On June 18, 2014, Corvain T. Cooper was convicted in the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina in Charlotte for the crime of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute marijuana and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. This was a non-violent crime. Corvain Cooper did not use any violence, or even threaten any violence, in this case. Despite former Attorney General Eric Holder's promise not to seek life sentences for non-violent drug offenders, the United States Attorney sought and obtained a life sentence under the Federal "Three Strikes" law. Corvain Cooper's two prior felonies that were the first two strikes were a conviction in California for possession of marijuana, and one conviction for possession of codeine cough syrup without a prescription. When he was sent to prison for the rest of his life for selling marijuana, Corvain Cooper was 34 years old, a father to two young daughters, ages 4 and 8, a fiancee, a son, a friend, and a small business owner selling clothing and footwear. Corvain appealed his conviction and sentence, arguing that his sentence of life imprisonment without parole for a non-violent drug offense as Cruel and Unusual Punishment. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld this injustice, and the Supreme Court declined to hear the case. After his direct appeals concluded, the State of California enacted Proposition 47 and Proposition 64 as part of legislative drug law reforms after California legalized marijuana. Both laws permitted people like Corvain Cooper to apply to the courts to vacate their marijuana or drug felony convictions, and replace them with misdemeanor convictions. Corvain Cooper successfully applied, and both of his felony convictions were thrown out. Both of the "two strikes" were vacated, meaning that Corvain Cooper was no longer eligible for the "Three Strikes" law. We filed a petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2255 in the Federal court, challenging his life sentence under the "Three Strikes" law - since two of the three strikes were no longer felonies, he should not receive a life sentence. The Federal courts have denied our challenge. The case is once again before the United States Supreme Court. If the Court allows this sentence to stand, this man will never see his family again. In 2016, we submitted an application for clemency with President Barack Obama, asking him to commute this grossly unjust sentence of life imprisonment for a non-violent drug offense. Unfortunately, before he left office, President Obama denied our clemency petition. I have been representing Corvain Cooper since his sentencing in 2014. Because his family has been unable to afford legal fees, I have been representing him for free - pro bono. I have pledged to continue to fight for this young man, who is a genuinely good person who does not deserve this Draconian punishment. Join us in asking President Donald J. Trump to stop the madness of mandatory life sentences for non-violent drug offenders, and commute Corvain Cooper's sentence so his daughters can grow up with a father. For more information, contact: Patrick Michael Megaro, Esq. Halscott Megaro, P.A. 1300 North Semoran Boulevard, Suite 195 Orlando, FL 32807 USA Phone: (407) 255-2164 email@example.com http://www.halscottmegaro.com
Petition to CALIFORNIA Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Michael Moore, Steve Soboroff, Gavin Newsom, Kamala D. Harris, Jackie Lacey
Free Nipsey Hussle Shooting Victim and Dismiss his Parole Violation
After just being released from a 20 year stint in prison, 56 year old Kerry Lathan was in Marathon Clothing Store being offered clothes by the store owner and rapper/community leader Nipsey Hussle as a welcome home gift to freshen his wardrobe prior to reconnecting with family and loved ones. Unfortunately moments later, he would be wounded during the shooting that killed Crenshaw's beloved Nipsey Hussle. After being treated at the hospital and released for his injuries, Mr. Lathan was arrested and taken into custody for violating his parole. One of the conditions of his parole was to avoid fraternizing with known gang members, and Nipsey was affiliated with Rollin' 60's Crips.Given the many barriers that individuals recently released from incarceration face upon reentering society, we should not be punishing those who are returning home to their communities with little choices left but to associate with friends and loved ones that welcome them with open arms. Regardless of affiliations, Mr. Lathan did not commit any crimes by being in the Marathon Clothing Store. And we should not equate Nipsey Hussle with just being a gang member -- as he was a philanthropist and beacon in Crenshaw that sought to bring positive change to his community and the people living in it. Kerry Lathan was merely in company of the same person that the Los Angeles Police Chief Michael Moore and Commissioner Steve Soboroff had agreed to meet with to find solutions for gang violence and LA youth. The day Nipsey was murdered, the Los Angeles Police Commissioner Steve Soboroff tweeted "I’m so very sad." But there can be no sadness surrounding the death of Nipsey, while also violating a person because Nipsey was trying to help. Kerry Lathan's parole violation should be dismissed immediately, and the California Department of Corrections -- along with the LAPD and Governor Gavin Newsom -- should continue to work with community leaders to find solutions for gang violence and also reassess how and why we violate our returning citizens during parole. We must end perpetual punishment now! This is what Neighborhood Nip would want.My name is Derick Bowers, and I am a senior leader at a national non-profit organization that provides holistic employment services for individuals returning from incarceration.
Petition to Andrew M. Cuomo
Stop the torture of Amin Booker! Release him from Solitary confinement!
NYS DOCCS abuses their authority when it comes to solitary confinement. Amin Booker was placed in Solitary Confinement on April 22, 2015 by Superintendent Thomas Griffin. This was done in retaliation to him speaking up for inmate rights. Amin was engaged in productive programs at Greenhaven Correctional Facility. He was elected inmate liaison secretary. He was also a facilitator of the Empowering The Youth Program. In March 2015 the Inmate Liaison Committee filed two grievances regarding correctional staff corruption under the supervision of Superintendent Thomas Griffin. On April 9, 2015 Amin was fired from the ILC and threatened to be placed in solitary confinement because he filed the grievances. On April 22, 2015 Amin was abducted from a family visit, put in a van and wisked away to Elmira Correctional Facility SHU. On April 24, 2015 DOCCS staff issued a vague report alleging that while at Greenhaven, Amin had an inmate disseminate a letter to the population for a call to solidarity. The report does not identify a name of a person alleged nor a date, time or location of the allegation. During the disciplinary hearing the DOCCS staff testified " that they do not know any details pertaining to the allegations". Despite such they have kept Amin in Punitive Confinement. He is mentally and physically deteriorating. Lets end this inhumane treatment. We do not want a repeat of Kalief Browder. Lets stop DOCCS from placing inmates in Solitary Confinement unjustly and leaving them there indefinitely as a form of retaliation. We are seeking relief for Amin. We ask that he be released from SHU and that DOCCS is held accountable. Someone has to oversee DOCCS and intervene so that this type of cruel and inhumane treatment does not continue. We want Amin Booker released from solitary confinement immediately and placed in general population, not only is he suffering but his loved ones are greatly impacted by him being in solitary confinement. Let's put an end to NYS DOCCS abusing their authority!
Petition to Jennifer Crown
U.S. military veteran with mental health history seeking 2nd chance at freedom.
I'm posting this petition for my son, MarQui Clardy, Sr. I’ll start with some background information on MarQui's character and the circumstances that led to his present situation. MarQui is a 33 year old father of four. On September 24, 2001, two weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he joined the United States Navy. He served as an Information Systems Technician while also attending ECPI University and serving as a Ship's Self-Defense Force (SSDF) team leader where he received intensive weapons, combat, and antiterrorism training. He was deployed to the Persian Gulf in 2003 for Operation Iraq Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Two weeks prior to being discharged in 2005, MarQui was referred to a psychiatrist (due to some behavioral deviations, hallucinations, and a suicidal preoccupation) where he was diagnosed with "Adjustment Disorder." The psychiatrist noted that MarQui had a "major impairment in [his] thinking and judgement, manifested by inflexible thinking." Despite this clinical assessment, MarQui wasn't given any treatment, counseling, medications, or even a follow-up appointment, nor was he made aware of the diagnosis. He was simply released from service and left to transition back into civilian life on his own. In 2006, MarQui enrolled at Old Dominion University to study computer science. This is where his financial troubles began. After his car was totaled in a flash flood, he lost his job due to a lack of transportation. He was able to find a succession of other lower paying jobs, but lost each of them for the same reason. As a result, he defaulted on his tuition payments, so his school registration was placed on hold. He also defaulted on his rent, and was notified by his landlord that he was being evicted from his apartment. Being jobless, carless, moneyless, facing imminent homelessness (without even the ability to improve his circumstances by finishing his college degree), and not able to financially support himself or his children caused an unfathomable amount of stress that likely triggered MarQui's Adjustment Disorder, and he made the ill decision to commit three robberies to get some money. In 2008, he was arrested and tried in court. Since the military had never notified MarQui of his mental health diagnosis, this information was never presented for the judge's consideration (even though MarQui's condition undoubtedly played a MAJOR factor in his decision to aberrantly break the law). MarQui was convicted on all charges; although he has a good background, NO prior criminal history, and absolutely NO physical violence had occurred in either offense, the judge sentenced him to 33 years in prison. MarQui just learned about his mental health diagnosis in 2014, six years AFTER being incarcerated. He has taken full responsibility for his actions, however, we must also recognize the military's role in discharging him back into society while neglecting to treat the mental health condition with which THEY diagnosed him! There's no limit to the behavioral effects that "impaired thinking and judgement" can have on those afflicted, especially if it's left untreated. Even the Department of Defense acknowledges that untreated mental health conditions among veterans pose a greater safety threat than those which are being treated. In MarQui's case, his impairment went untreated for THREE ENTIRE YEARS, leading up to him making the poor decision to break the law. His background shows that he clearly was not a criminally-inclined person. Had the military treated his condition before discharging him, or even afterward at one of the V.A. medical centers, it’s very likely that MarQui would have exercised better judgement and not commited those robberies. Because of the post-conviction discovery of MarQui's mental health diagnosis, as well as the positive strides he's made throughout his incarceration- which include earning college credits by completing classes at Washington and Lee University, completing classes through Emmaus Correspondence School and Life's Key Ministries, enrolling in all of the requisite DOC rehabilitative programs, remaining free of institutional infractions, maintaining employment as a GED tutor (among other jobs), remaining an active member of "incarcerated veterans" groups throughout DOC, being consistently rated as a "very low risk of recidivism" by DOC's COMPAS assessment, writing two novels (one of which has been published), several articles for Hamilton College, The Marshall Project, and Cell Door Magazine, and a social justice / criminal justice book he's currently working on - Redemptive Life Foundation has filed a clemency petition on his behalf, asking Governor Northam to commute his prison sentence and allow him to be released. MarQui has gained ample support from family, friends, former coworkers, college coeds and class instructors, military veterans organizations, and religious groups. But we're seeking even more support to ensure that he gets the chance he has worked hard for. After ten years in prison, JUSTICE HAS BEEN SERVED! MarQui broke the law, however, given the fact that he was suffering from an unknown (by him) and untreated mental illness, his harsh 33 year sentence is unfair and unjust. It is also a slap in the face to all those who have served our country's military that were left physically and/or mentally impaired. He has also shown throughout his incarceration what type of person he truly is, and why he should be granted a second chance at his freedom. Please sign this petition to help us get him that chance. Thank you!
Petition to Donald J. Trump
President Trump: Commute the Prison Sentence of Former Rapper "Loon"
Former Bad Boy Records recording artist "Loon" is serving an unjust sentence in federal prison for a very minor role in a non-violent drug offense. Mr. President, please grant him a presidential commutation of sentence. Chauncey Hawkins, professionally known as Loon, was a multi-Platinum-selling recording artist signed to Bad Boy Records. He is most known for his hit songs with P. Diddy "I Need A Girl Part 1" featuring Usher and "I Need A Girl Part 2" featuring Ginuwine. In 2008, Loon left the music industry to pursue a better, positive life after reverting to Islam and was traveling the world as a motivational speaker. He now goes by Amir Junaid Muhadith. However, while he was still in the music industry he made an introduction for someone who was involved with drugs and he got snared in a federal drug conspiracy case. He pleaded guilty for this minor role and agreed to a 14-year sentence to avoid the “trial tax” he would receive if he rejected the government's plea offer, which included very lengthy mandatory minimum enhancement penalties that would flow from a conviction after trial. Prisons should be reserved for those who really need to be there. At the White House Prison Reform Summit, which I had the privilege of attending, you expressed concern for long sentences and stressed the importance of second chances for low-risk offenders. In commuting the prison sentence of Alice Johnson, you stated that “those who have paid their debt to society and worked hard to better themselves while in prison deserve a second chance.” Amir has done both. And while thousands of offenders will be released or see their sentences shortened as a result of the First Step Act, the new law does not benefit Amir. He has already served 7 years of his sentence. This should be enough. Mr. President - like Alice Johnson - Amir is deserving of your mercy and will be a better asset to the community as a free man where he intends to serve his community through the development of effective re-entry programs. Please commute the remainder of his sentence without delay, so Amir can return home to his family and community, where he can use his talents to benefit others rather than simply being warehoused. Sincerely, Weldon Angelos