Topic

Nonviolent Offenders

33 petitions

Update posted 3 days ago

Petition to President of the United States

Clemency for Ross Ulbricht, Serving Double Life for a Website

My son, Ross Ulbricht, is a first-time offender serving a double life sentence without parole, plus 40 years, for a website he made when he was 26 years old and passionate about free markets and privacy. Ross―an Eagle Scout, scientist and peaceful entrepreneur―had all non-violent charges at trial. He was never prosecuted for causing harm or bodily injury and no victim was named at trial. This is a sentence that shocks the conscience. There is a growing consensus that Ross’s case is a miscarriage of justice and over 130 eminent organizations and leaders have voiced their support. The website Silk Road was an e-commerce platform similar to eBay, where consenting users chose what to buy and sell as long as no third party was harmed (some listings were prohibited). Both legal and illegal items were sold, most commonly personal amounts of cannabis. Ross is condemned to die in prison, not for selling drugs himself but for creating a website where others did. This is far harsher than the punishment for many murderers, pedophiles, rapists and other violent people. All the other defendants related to the case―including the actual drug sellers and the creator of Silk Road 2―received sentences ranging from 17 months to 10 years.  Ross’s investigation, trial and sentencing were rife with abuse.  This includes corrupt federal investigators (now in prison) who were hidden from the jury, as well as prosecutorial misconduct, constitutional violations and reliance on uncharged, false allegations at sentencing. Ross was smeared in the media through false and inaccurate reporting. Ross was not treated fairly and his sentence is draconian. Justice was not served. We, the undersigned, seek mercy for Ross Ulbricht. He told the court that starting Silk Road was a terrible mistake that he deeply regrets, that he never intended harm, and that he has learned the heavy price of breaking the law. Ross is not a danger to anyone. If released tomorrow, he would never come near breaking the law again.  Ross’s life history clearly shows he is a compassionate young man who is very much loved and has much to give. The judge received 100 letters attesting to his excellent character and how much he has helped others. These include those in prison, where he has demonstrated exemplary behavior and tutored, led classes, and helped fellow inmates.  Keeping Ross caged for life helps no one; will cost taxpayers about $2 million; and deprives society of an exceptionally kind, generous and creative person. Even in the face of his walking death sentence, Ross clings to the hope of a second chance. He dreams of a future where he can be reunited with his loved ones, start a family, and use his education and skills to contribute to society. Mr. President, please commute Ross Ulbricht’s unjust sentence. Learn more about Ross's case at FreeRoss.org.

FreeRoss.org
252,321 supporters
Update posted 5 months ago

Petition to Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump

Please Grant Clemency to Robert Shipp

In 1993, at the age of 20, my brother Robert Shipp was indicted and charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine base and cocaine. In 1994, he was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. He was involved in the drug conspiracy for only 5 months. This was Robert’s first drug offense and he doesn’t have a violent history.  At his sentencing hearing, Robert’s judge repeatedly verbalized his objections to the sentence that he was forced to give Robert. He explained that he had no choice but to give Robert a life sentence based on the Federal Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Guidelines. He further explained that the law didn’t allow him to use discretion in the sentencing. He also noted that the cocaine suppliers plead guilty and received 12 and 14 years for supplying the cocaine in this conspiracy.   While Robert takes full responsibility for his participation in the criminality that resulted in his incarceration, I think it is important to share with you what led this honor student down this path. When Robert was in high school our brother was stabbed to death at the age of 19. Our brother’s untimely death devastated Robert and he began acting out in a negative manner. As a teenager, Robert’s inability to cope with this tragic loss ultimately and regrettably led to his risk-taking/criminal behavior. Our brother’s murderer was sentenced to 20 years and was released after serving 10 years. It is unbelievable that Robert received a life sentence for his 5 months involvement, in a nonviolent drug conspiracy, and our brother’s murderer only served 10 years. Robert should have been punished for his involvement in the conspiracy; however, a life sentence is excessive. Robert’s daughter was almost 2 years old when he was incarcerated. She has unfortunately experienced the all too familiar pitfalls of growing up without a father, and is now a single mother of four. In February 2015, due to a retroactive amendment to the federal sentencing guidelines Robert's sentenced was reduced to 30 years.  My brother is now 46 years old, but hasn't given up on life.  He spends his time reading, mentoring, speaking, and securing all possible certifications and college credits. My children have never seen their uncle outside of the visitation room; however, they look forward to spending time with him, as he shares with them the importance of making the right choices in life and reminds them that bad choices have consequences and could very well mean giving up their freedom. He also encourages them to do well in school, respect others, and take responsibility for their actions. The unexpected death of our father on July 17, 2012, remains difficult for all of us; and is compounded by what we know was our father’s unending hope to secure Robert’s freedom. As our father laid helplessly, on his death bed with weary eyes, I promised him that I would continue to fight for freedom and justice for my brother. Because Robert wasn't allowed to attend our father's funeral, he wrote a letter, entitled, "A Letter to my Dad," and asked that I read it on his behalf. It was by far one of the hardest things I had to do in my life. When Robert is released, our family and loved ones will provide him with emotional and financial support, and a reentry plan has been developed to ensure that he is given a fair chance at becoming a productive citizen. We will also assist him with his desire to mentor youth that are at a crossroad, just as he was as a grieving young adult. Robert has so much to offer society. Please sign my petition asking President Donald Trump to grant my brother clemency. He has more than paid his debt to society for his 5 months involvement in a nonviolent drug conspiracy at the young age of 20. Robert has been in prison for 25 1/2 years now...over half of his life. He was sentenced to life before his life even really got started. 

Veda A.
153,424 supporters
Update posted 6 months ago

Petition to Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, President Donald Trump, Pardon Attorney Lawrence Kupers, Attorney General William Barr

Clemency for David M. Barren Serving 30 Years!

My family member, David Barren, is serving 30 years for a non-violent drug offense. David was sentenced to LIFE plus 20 years in federal prison for drug conspiracy. On January 19, 2017, he was commuted to a 30 year sentence by President Obama, though it was a "Bittersweet" outcome! Unfortunately David will not be released until "2034"!!!! David has never been to prison, no history of violence, and has no substantial criminal record to support a LIFE sentence plus 20 years. His conviction was based primarily on "hear-say" of witnesses who testified against him in exchange for reduced sentences of their own. David accepts full responsibility for his actions and is truly remorseful for any harm he has caused to his community, family, and those affected by his unwise choices. During his 10 plus years of incarceration, he continues to have a positive outlook on life and works very hard to rehabilitate himself. He has obtained a Paralegal Certificate from Adams State University in Colorado with a 4.0 GPA via correspondence courses, read numerous books to enhance his thirst for knowledge, and mentors younger inmates on his own. Notably, David has been supported by numerous respected members of his community, including Congressman Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania State Representative Edward Gainey who've both reviewed David's case and suggest David's sentence is overly harsh and because of his harsh drug sentence, he is a worthy candidate for executive clemency. David comes from a loving family who continues to support him vigorously. His parents (82) and (84) respectively visit David every weekend unless weather permits otherwise. His four siblings, six children, and extended family also continues to be a strong support system via phone calls, cards, letters, and visits to maintain a viable communication line within the family. Because of David's family support and rehabilitative efforts, he is well prepared for release as a productive citizen to society.  There is a consensus among human rights organizations and sentencing advocates that individuals serving lengthy non-violent prison sentences such as David, will no doubt die in prison if President Donald Trump doesn't commute his sentence. Many believe that the next President will not be as compassionate and understanding.  Please help me urge President Donald Trump to grant David Morris Barren's clemency petition.  David will no doubt die in federal prison with a 30 year sentence for a non-violent drug offense. I humbly thank you for your support in efforts to give David a second chance at his life.       "Read more about his case: Dave is #9  on the CAN-DO Top 25 Men Who Deserve Clemency  

Anrica Caldwell
19,774 supporters