Petition to New Jersey State House, New Jersey Governor, New Jersey State Senate
Change NJ NERA From 85% To 65%
When it comes to prison sentences, most are what are called flat sentences. However, for serious first and second degree crimes, a bad situation is made even worse due to the No Early Release Act (N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2) This criminal statute forces a person to serve 85 percent of their sentence and even after that there is no guarantee of release. Since NERA applies to serious offenses with lengthy prison sentences, that means a person is sitting in prison for years if not decades. The No Early Release Act only applies to certain first and second degree crimes; no third or fourth degree offenses. Normally, prison terms are shorter than the court imposed sentence. The parole period for first degree crimes generally is 5 years while for second degree crimes it is usually 3 years. So someone sentenced to 10 years can be out in 5 years or less depending on the circumstances. However, for crimes subject to NERA the punishments scale up drastically. For example, you must serve 8.5 years of a 10 year sentence before you even become eligible for parole. Inmates who are sentenced using NERA guidelines, have ZERO chance of an early release even if they exhibit GREAT behavior and prove that they are worthy of release. NERA deprives such individuals of a second chance and yet we boast of a constitution that advocates second chances. There are no second chances with NERA. You are punished for your bad behavior, yet good behavior means nothing. Experience is the best teacher. Who better to teach their kids to stay out of trouble and put it jail other than a reformed inmate. Yet many fathers will never be able to raise their children and teach them to stay away from prison. STATISTICS show that those with incarcerated parents, especially fathers, have a higher chance of getting incarcerated themselves. New Jersey Prisons are swarmed with minority inmates who are serving ridiculously long sentences until the mandatory time has been served irrespective of reformation. This is no justice. NERA also wastes tax payers money! Mandatory sentencing is expensive and costing tax payers millions and millions of dollars every year. “The cost to house an inmate for one year is $53,000," says New Jersey Department of Corrections Spokesman Matt Schuman. Fund for New Jersey emphasizes the need to curb the use of mandatory sentence and in its article, it explains that when Michigan in 2003 repealed almost all mandatory minimums for drug offenses, during the period from 2006 to 2010, the state’s prison population fell 15% and spending on prisons declined by $148 million, and both violent and property crime rates declined. Rhode Island, after repealing its mandatory sentencing laws in 2009, has seen its prison population declined by 12% and the state’s crime rate is down by several percentage points. New Jersey is not among the states that have taken steps to reduce mandatory sentences. Incarceration in New Jersey is on the rise and millions of our dollars are spent to maintain NERA Leading sentencing scholar Michael Tonry has explained: “The evidence is clear that mandatory penalties have either no demonstrable marginal deterrent effects or short-term effects that rapidly waste away.” It is time for change, its time to correct the New Jersey Judicial system. Its time to reduce NERA to 65%.
Petition to North Carolina State House, North Carolina State Senate, Roy Cooper
Reduce NC Structured Sentencing Mandatory Minimums from 100% to 65% retroactive for all.
We need to reform North Carolina’s rigid mandatory minimum sentencing scheme, one of the few remaining in the southeastern United States. The simple truth is that North Carolina incarcerates too many people, for too long, and for the wrong reasons, damaging families, harming communities, and deepened racial disparities in the criminal justice system. We need to end mandatory minimum sentences and three strikes laws that put people in prison for decades. Mandatory 100% mandatory minimum prison sentence is extreme, unnecessary and certainly has little or no impact on improving society. There is a misguided reasoning that the interests of society are best served by imposing mandatory longer prison sentences with no possibility of early release for persons convicted of certain crimes. Parole in North Carolina is only an option for crimes committed before October 1, 1994. On that date a new state law, the North Carolina Structured Sentencing Act (N.C.S.S.A), went into effect. The law abolished parole, instituted mandatory minimum sentences, eliminated judicial discretion in sentencing, and made life without parole—or death—a mandatory sentence for first-degree murder. No life sentence was ever guaranteed parole, merely the possibility. Even for those who are still parole-eligible, the path to freedom is anything but certain. North Carolina’s structured sentencing law modified the incentives for prison inmates to follow institutional rules by reducing an inmate’s capacity to earn sentencing reductions for good behavior. Inmates sentenced under the structured sentencing law pose more difficult prison management challenges than do inmates sentenced under the previous law. More than one-fifth of the correctional officer positions in North Carolina's 55 prisons are vacant, officials said. The understaffing affects daily operations, limits the ability of staff to take leave and attend training and hinders the delivery of programs to inmates. Just recently announced they would close three minimum-security prisons in the coming weeks to shore up staffing and improve safety at other prisons. The structured sentencing law implemented in North Carolina made the management of the State’s prisons more difficult and more costly. Prisoner advocates have called attention to ongoing sentencing problems and poor prison conditions as creating the conditions of unrest. In addition, ongoing concern about the quality of food and limited programming has contributed to the unrest. It is urgent that North Carolina’s elected officials, voters, and community leaders dramatically reduce our reliance on incarceration and invest instead in alternatives to prison, including common sense approaches that can break the cycle of crime and recidivism by helping people rebuild their lives. Decades spent putting thousands of people behind bars have not made North Carolina safer, but have instead ruined countless lives, wasted millions of taxpayer dollars, and devastated communities across our state, particularly those who are low-income and of color. It’s time for North Carolina to move away from the failed policies of mass incarceration and pursue a new vision of justice and safety. N.C.S.S.A is Unfair:Inmates who are sentenced using N.C.S.S.A guidelines, have ZERO % chance of an early release even if they exhibit GREAT behavior. N.C.S.S.A deprives individuals of a second chance and yet we boast of a constitution that advocates Second Chances. There are no second chances with N.C.S.S.A. There is no Good Time reduction available only the time required to be served for unconditional release from prison. Good behavior simply means you get to stay in prison without additional time. Earned time is the primary sentence reduction credit available to those sentenced under Structured Sentencing. Earned Time reduces only the maximum term of an offender’s sentence imposed by the court, and requires full time work and program activities, which are in themselves limited within the current overcrowded, highly understaffed prison system. An earlier law had allowed for parole-eligible life sentences, time off for good behavior, and indeterminate sentencing, but the N.C.S.S.A ended all of that with inflexible, punitive policies. N.C.S.S.A creates a repeated cycle of crime and affects minorities the most:As the saying goes, experience is the best teacher. Who better to teach their kids to stay away from the four-letter words “J.A.I.L.” than a reformed inmate? Yet that reformed Inmate will never get to teach their family, especially their kids who are the future generation to stay away from Jail, because N.C.S.S.A will block that chance. Statistics show that kids whose parents are incarcerated, have a higher chance of finding themselves incarcerated too. Yet our leaders are scratching their heads and wondering why incarceration is rising, while they continue to impose N.C.S.S.A. While N.C.S.S.A guidelines can be used for all, statistics show that N.C.S.S.A. affects minorities the most. North Carolina Prisons are swarmed with minority inmates who are serving extremely long sentences until the mandatory minimum time has been served irrespective of reformation. This is no justice. N.C.S.S.A takes away Judicial discretion:Judges' hands are tied, and they have no discretion to reduce a sentence below the mandatory time. The irony is that N.C.S.S.A guidelines not only restrict reformed inmates, but also restrict the Judges who set the sentence in the first place. It makes absolutely no sense. A proven safety valve is a smart-on-crime, state-tested, and state-approved way to reform North Carolina’s rigid mandatory minimum sentencing scheme, one of the few remaining in the southeastern United States. This is not Smart Justice. N.C.S.S.A. wastes taxpayers’ money:Mandatory sentencing is expensive and costing taxpayers millions and millions of dollars every year. “The cost to house an inmate for one year is about $36,219," as report on NC DPS website. It’s now been several decades since states around the country began experimenting with criminal justice reform. Between 2007 and 2017, 34 states reduced both imprisonment and crime rates simultaneously, showing clearly that reducing mass incarceration does not come at the cost of public safety Inmates sentenced under N.C.S.S.A pose more difficult prison management challenges, including low staff moral and extremely low inmate moral than it did the previous law. The structured sentencing law implemented in North Carolina made the management of the State’s prisons more difficult and more costly, punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation. It is clear that modifications in sentencing can have far reaching implications for prisons. It has been clearly demonstrated by other research that sentencing policies and practices have major impacts on the size of correctional populations. But the features of sentencing can also affect inmates' behavior while incarcerated, making the management of prisons more difficult and more costly. Future legislation should consider these effects as well as those impacting the need for bed space. The orderliness and safety of the prison environment can have negative consequences on inmates and staff that may be every bit as serious as overcrowding. North Carolina is not among the states that have taken steps to reduce mandatory sentences. Incarceration in North Carolina is on the rise and millions of our dollars are spent to maintain N.C.S.S.A. It is time for change, it’s time to correct the North Carolina Judicial system. It’s time to modify N.C.S.S.A., by lowering the 100% minimum sentence to 65%, bring back Good Time reduction and expanding Earned time opportunities.
Petition to U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, Barack Obama
It's Time for #JusticeReformNOW
Right now, we have an opportunity to fix one of the biggest moral crises of our time. 1 out of every 100 Americans is behind bars. The U.S. spends $80 billion a year on incarceration. 70 million Americans have a criminal record. In too many neighborhoods, young people of color are more like to go to prison than college. We have a critical moment of opportunity. Important criminal justice reforms have been introduced in Congress and received the support of leading Republicans and Democrats. People on both sides of the aisle know we cannot continue to incarcerate more people per capita than any other country in the world. Despite all the agreement, all the evidence, all the popularity and all the urgency, we are still awaiting votes on criminal justice reform proposals in the U.S. House and Senate. This moment offers a once-in-a generation opportunity that could save entire communities and transform millions of lives. We must not let it pass. Together, we can push Congress and President Obama to pass major legislation and get crucial bills signed into law this year. Sign this petition. Demand that Congress take action to roll back the incarceration industry in America.
Petition to John E. Wetzel, Tom Wolf, Barack Obama, Jay Lane, André Carson
Stop Corruption and Mistreatment of Prisoners at Pennsylvania State Correctional - Fayette
My father has been incarcerated for 43 years for murder, but yet he was acquitted on the murder weapon. His institution name is James Sullivan #AF6771 and he is incarcerated at Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution Fayette. There are no records for Judgement of Sentencing Order. My dad has been locked since I was three years old, this was in 1973. I have not seen my father in over 43 years. I had no knowledge of where he was or why he was locked up for years. It wasn't until I was 27 years old that my father was able to find and reach out to me. When I was younger I would always receive letters from my dad and was very excited when they came. He always drew pictures on the letters that always put a smile on my face. Then suddenly one day the letters just stop coming. I spent all those years feeling like my father had forgotten about me and didn't love me anymore. It wasn't until we started communicating that I found out my stepfather had wrote my dad and told him to never contact me again. I couldn't believe it! All those years I thought I wasn't loved and it was just a lie. He did love me and he tried his best to find out where I was. It's sad but what is sadder is the fact that my dad is incarcerated for no reason. There are no records of his incarceration, so I question why is he still incarcerated? Tanja Hayles who is the Records Supervisor, declare under the penalty of perjury, pursuant to 18 Pa. C.S. & 4904 that the following statements are true and correct based upon her personal knowledge, information, and belief: " I am employed by the Department of Corrections as Records Supervisor at the State Correctional Institution at Houtzdale. If the specific records requested above were in the possession of this Institution, they would be retained as official records in files within my custody. After a reasonable search, I have determined that the records requested are not in my custody, possession, or control." This document was dated on 10/22/13 and signed by Tanja Hayles. Since then my father has been transferred to State Correction Institution Fayette still in Pennsylvania. My father has been able to retain a lot of his court documents and I have possession of them. His whole case in a misuse of our Justice system and many civil rights violations. My father has developed many programs within the Institution and was placed in the Honor Unit. He has no history of bad behavior and has been commended many times for his work within the prison. He is also and artist who has sold many of his paintings to guards and others in the prison also. I just want to see justice served in this matter and for my father to be able to be a free man. I haven't had my father in my life for 43 years and it is time for him to come home. So much of his life has been wasted behind bars where many innocent men have been. He has lost so much money from attorneys who have gotten paid and ran off with the money. My father's case has so many twist and turns and everyone seems to be turning a blind eye to it. How can you have someone incarcerated, taken away from the families, their children, taken away their opportunities without any reason. I have seen so many crimes done by people that have received less years sentenced than my father and they were guilty. The individuals involved in his case are fraudulent and need to be exposed for their misconduct and misuse of the law. My father has been threatened by guards who are continuously trying to set him up. He is about to be 70 years old and he isn't a threat to himself or society. I desperately need everyone's help bringing his story to the media and any other outlets that can be used to seek him some real justice. He has been told that his case is a "Threat To The State". Anything that threatens the interest of the state (i.e. Judicial economy) must be avoided by attorneys at ALL COST! An illegal sentence is a threat to the state and lawyers are not coming to the rescue. This from the Attorney and Client, C.J.S. (1980) "Duty of attorney is to the court if litigant client's interest threatens the state" 7 C.J.S. 34 This is what my father has to endure, not being able to find an attorney that will even look at his case. Like I said earlier much money has been spent on attorneys over the years who have taken the money and ran. Please help by signing this petition so that I can spend the rest of my father's days on earth with him. We have so much time that has been lost and it can never be replaced, I just love my father and want him to receive his rightful justice. The prison facility at Fayette is absolutely deplorable. The treatment of their prisoners is even worse. My father has spoken to me about the sickness and disease that is running rampant throughout the prison, not to mention they receive no proper medical care. My father is about to be seventy years old and when they returned him to the Honor Block (after being moved to one of the worst blocks in the prison for no reason at all) he now has a top bunk with no guard rails and he has fallen twice. This is unacceptable on all levels. The guards themselves are involved in a lot of shady business throughout the prison and my father has witnessed it first hand. I tried calling when my father was first moved from the Honor block and the guard who answered was very unprofessional. I was told I will never be able to talk to the Superintendent and prisoners get moved all the time its no big deal. Well it is to me when my father is a senior and resides in the Honor block but is suddenly moved conveniently when the Sup. Jay Lane is off the prison grounds. He had no idea this had taken place and ordered that my father be returned to Honor block once Sup. Jay Lane found out. I must get my father released, his life is at stake at this point. I refuse to lose him to this abuse and torture. My dad doesn't even eat the food, so if we don't send him care packages he doesn't eat. The food is basically poison my dad says it is absolutely horrible and prisoners have gotten sick. Prisoners without families coming up dead mysteriously, just too much going on and this place needs to be investigated. But my first priority first is my dad's freedom and that is what I'm fighting for.
Petition to Donald J. Trump, President Donald Trump, New York Governor, Texas Governor, US Attorney General, Tedd Gassman
PARDON MY uncle- Release my UNCLE he’s served enough time!
My uncle Dionysius Fiumano was sentenced to serve 16 years is federal prison due to him fighting for himself, while the OWNERS of the actually company only received 2 years. My Uncle went to trial and they slammed him with 16 years, while 4 other (3 ACTUAL OWNERS AND ANOTHER EMPLOYEE)people got a slap on the hand. 3 owners got 2 years and another employee just like my uncle got 2-3 home arrest! Where is the Justice here? Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force Is the force who placed over 15,000 white collar crime in prison and did not settle this in civil! Help spread the word FFETF Theres more owners who DID NOT GET IN TROUBLE at all! My Uncle Dionysius Fiumano was part of a wire fraud situation, he was a SALES MANAGER not a owner, not a signer, not part owner, not a co owner just an employee. Sure he might have done wrong(first time in his life ever getting in trouble) but to give him 16 years for a white collar crime that US attorneys office can’t even get the correct amount straight into what they all truly took from others. THE (3) OWNERS received 31 million dollars from people and my uncles salary for 3 years was only $550,000 living in California. Another employee just like my Uncle got 2-3 years house arrest! My Uncle has been fighting in prison & deserves to be released! He deserves the same amount of prison time as the 4 others NOTHING MORE! He was sentenced to 16 years for going to trial. Hes an amazing father to 1 son and 2 daughter who all lived with him. Please sign to help him come home!
Petition to California State Senate, California State House, Gavin Newsom, United States Supreme Court, Donald J. Trump, California Governor, California State Attorney General Xavier Becerra, John Garamendi, Jerry Brown
Keep Daniel Marsh in Prison: Justice for Chip Northup & Claudia Maupin
Six years ago, on April 13, 2013, Daniel Marsh savagely stabbed to death Chip Northup & Claudia Maupin, as they slept inside their Davis, California home. Marsh delivered 128 stab wounds between the two...after Marsh finished his rampage, he cut out their torsos & placed foreign objects inside them to "throw off investigators" (his exact words). He wore duct tape on his shoes, glove, & ski-mask, so as not to leave any forensic evidence; all of which is the definition of PREMEDITATED murder!!! His age doesn't matter when something this precise & meticulously was planned. And had it not been for Marsh's friend calling in the tip line, there would have been more random, brutal murders in this small town, as Marsh was already in the process of planning his next when he was finally arrested, 2 months after the murder. A Blended family lost their beloved mother and father.... all because a sociopathic, 15-year-old (who was no stranger to the mental health system) simply wanted to fulfill a fantasy. He was sentenced to 52 years to Life in Prison. But since convicted, Marsh has gone on to challenge the "Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016, as enacted by Proposition 57 on November 8, 2016", thankfully his sentence upheld, and the judge found that the crime was so heinous, premeditated, & meticulously planned that Marsh was fit to stand trial as an adult. But now former Governor Jerry Brown, before leaving office in 2018, signed Bill 1391 (Chapter 1021; An act to amend Section 707 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to juveniles), enacting that NO PERSONS under the age of 15- years- old (no matter how brutal, horrific, or downright wrong against society) could be tried as an adult. Since Marsh's case was technically still opened, he may be granted retroactive relief under this new bill & walk out of prison in less than 4 years from now. PLEASE STAND WITH ME and Chip & Claudia's families and let's give the courts a solid reason to dismiss any retroactivity to SB1391 in Marsh's case!!! Not to mention, you'll help ensure that a sociopathic, convicted murderer would stay behind bars for his FULL sentence of 52 years and WON'T be walking around looking for his next "thrill", you never know who the next victim could be!!! If we the people of the United States don't do something to help STOP this, then we're no better than the people who help these killers get light sentences or off on cold-blooded murder charges!!! It's unconstitutional that a new Law Act or Bill be bestowed upon a person who's already been convicted & started serving their sentence; all because of a technicality (Prop. 57, which, he wasn't granted) which allowed his case to be reopened and now can possibly be brought open his case & now is possibly allowing him to fall under this new blanket law for juveniles and he'll either be immediately released or release at the age of 25; if that's the case then the court systems should be flooded with past cases...BUT most important, an individual of these sorts should not ever, EVER be allowed to walk the streets a free man, with a sealed background. Just think, he may end up in your town or city, as an employee, neighbor, friend, your child's friend or boyfriend, etc. WE NEED TO STOP ANY FURTHER PROCEEDING AND STOP IT NOW! And with your help and enough support, WE CAN!!!!!! Please help me in this fight to keep this man behind bars, where he belongs, for his full sentence; but most importantly, let's help Chip& Claudia rest in peace and FINALLY give their families the assurance that this killer will stay where he belongs!!! HERE'S A LITTLE BACKGROUND ON MARSH: At the age of 10, Daniel Marsh was hailed a hero by the American Red Cross, for saving his father's life by performing CPR during a heart attack. But over the next 5 years, all Daniel Marsh thought about and talked about was murder. He's killed an innocent CAT that was just walking by and after he stated: "I just didn't like it". Sometime after the killing of Chip & Claudia, he confided in a friend all the details of the murder. He also told him that he was planning to kill again, because of the 'high' he felt afterward. His friend went on to contact the police, as he actually feared for his own life and his family's lives as well. During the police interview, which included an FBI specialist, Daniel's EXACT words were: "I'm not gonna lie. IT FELT AMAZING. It was pure HAPPINESS, and adrenaline and dopamine, just all of it, rushing over me." You can read the entire 48-hour story on Daniel Marsh here: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/daniel-marsh-double-murder-could-new-california-law-free-a-teen-killer-convicted-as-an-adult/ Other articles related to further details of this horrible tragedy: https://www.sacbee.com/community/yolo/article4448144.html https://wdef.com/2019/02/23/controversial-new-calif-law-free-convicted-killer-turns-25/ NOTE: This petition and the originator doesn't own copyrights to any of the story's/case links, nor the photo used for the petition. It's all used in good faith, as educational purposes for the public.
Petition to Charlie Baker
Support my son Arnie King by signing his petition to commute the life (without parole) sentence so that he can become eligible for parole release.
This is important because Arnie is requesting a 6th public hearing. Governor Patrick rejected a 6-0 favorable vote in 2008, and Arnie was granted another hearing in October 2010. Two months after the hearing, a police officer was killed by a lifer on parole. The governor then fired 5 parole board members and selected replacements. After that, Arnie received an unfavorable vote in March 2011, and he was denied another hearing request in March 2013. Arnie is responsible for killing a man in 1971, when he was 18 and had been drinking and drugging for several days. He has been clean for over 30 years now, obtained 3 college degrees, successfully completed more than 2 dozen weekend furloughs, participated in and created many support, rehabilitation, and education programs, and he remains very active in community service. Based on his age, the number of years he has served in prison, his level of educational achievement, and his community service while inside prison, Arnie is no longer a risk for danger to society. Over the years he has formed many significant bonds with people who are high achievers, and they support his reentry as a contributing member to society, including offers of employment and the prospects of becoming a taxpayer rather than costing the state $50,000/annually. Here are a few examples of support shown at Arnie's public hearings over the past 7 years: Charles Ogletree (Professor, Harvard Law), I have never seen anyone transform their life the way he has in the more than 40 years of service in prison. Gloria Fox (State Representative), I believe he is a changed man … and we support this commutation. Mel King (Professor Emeritus/MIT), What we need to see in this world is epitomized by Arnie and his change and behavior… Jill Soffiyah Elijah (Attorney), How many youth counselors have I met regularly, who have been impacted by Mr. King! Reverend William Dickerson (Greater Love Tabernacle), Arnie King is not the average inmate. He doesn’t play games. He is sincere. Reverend Dr. Ray Hammond (Bethel AME), I appreciate that he inspires young people to make the right choices and not simply scare them. We really need the voice and presence of Arnie King. Eva Clark (Executive Director, Judge Banks Community Justice Program), Nothing short of catastrophic illness would prevent me from being here today to support Arnie King. Lyn Levy (Executive Director, SPAN, Inc.), I met Arnie in 1976 and I will be one of the people holding his hand. Our agency will help him also. Dr. Fran Roznowski (Community Psychologist), I have known Arnie since 1979, and I will be joining many others to have his back. Robin Casarjian (Executive Director, Lion Heart Foundation), For 15 years, he showed up with a sense of purpose and encouraged other prisoners to participate in group activities. Bob David (Side By Side Community Circle), Of the large numbers of disciplinary reports, some may be questionable, while other were earned. Paul Marcus (Executive Director, Community Change Inc.), What Arnie’s life means to me is the power of transformation, and society needs to see this example. Abrigal Forrester (Street Safe Boston), I’m here as a product of Arnie King. Hope – Lifeline – Redemption. He engaged the ignorance within me and told me I had value. Peter McGuane (Student, Truck Driver), I was in for involuntary manslaughter, and he got me active with Prison Voices, which I continued upon release. I’m honored to be here for Arnie. Paule Verdet (Professor Emeritus/BU), It’s a way of life for Arnie. He is a superb model. Becky Thompson (Professor/Simmons College), Recognizing Mr. King as a man worthy of commutation, no one benefits if the policy exists theoretically but is never granted. Felix Arroyo, Sr. (former Boston City Councillor), The first time I met Mr. King, I was with his brother. I wondered about him and found a calm person, at peace with himself. We have a recourse… ‘cause I know it will help our community. Nancy Murray (ACLU), Why is the community present? We are interested in redemption… He couldn’t bring back the life, but he would do what he could to try to prevent others from going down that path. George Lee (Community Organizer), I heard a lot about him. He wasn’t about tooting his own horn. He was present for young folks and the other men. Seth Kirshenbaum (Director, The City School), Having Arnie with us in the community will help save young lives, and we have a job or volunteer opportunity for him. Banjineh Brown (Boston School Teacher), He works with prevention. The “Arnie” factor is about redemption, and we use him as a case study. He is an entrepreneur activist. Jason Lydon (Minister), Through Barbed Wire has been quite active at the Community Church of Boston. Aaron Tanaka (Boston Workers Alliance), I hope you will see his deep commitment to change and rehabilitation. Dianne Zimbabwe (Community Artist/Educator), My involvement with Through Barbed Wire allows me to witness the positive impact of Arnie’s community endeavors. Myriam Ortiz (Executive Director, Boston Parents Organizing Network), Arnie King has been an asset to us and students benefit from his example. Daniel King (Brother), I was a 16 year old teenager in 1971. We have prayed for the family of John Labanara for comfort and peace, and we hope for their forgiveness. Marva King (Sister), It matters that we heal together. Eddie Berkin (Attorney), People are much more friends than supporters. Because they are friends, they are also supporters. Margaret Burnham (Attorney), Your legal obligation is to review and decide whether this man has made exceptional strides in development. Walt Silva, Ed D (Professor Emeritus/BU), Arnie is the classic example of prison injustice gone way over the top. He's jumped through every hoop, made every effort to contribute to the community from behind bars more than anyone else that I have known in my 25 years involved in prison higher education, and remains in prison at a cost of what - $60,000 + a year when he could be out contributing and paying taxes with zero threat to anyone? I have written to Governor Patrick more than once, concerning parole in general and Arnie specifically. If Arnie King doesn't qualify for commutation, then who does? It sends a sad message back to the prison population. If Arnie doesn't get a consideration, what's the sense of trying? But I'm sure Arnie doesn't feel that way, and will continue to keep contributing from behind bars. Imagine what he could do if he were out. He's paid his dues several times over. Arnie is the 3rd of 9 children through which many grandchildren and great grandchildren are a major part of this family circle. I complete 82 years of living this month, full of tremendous joys and blessings. However, this journey will be incomplete until I’m able to welcome Arnie’s return to the world community. My son has been inside Massachusetts prisons for the 1971 murder of another human being. He was 18, under the influence of alcohol and drugs, in Boston, and responsible for the death of this young man. Our entire family-and-friends network was devastated, as well as that of the Labanara family. After Arnie was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment, without parole, I traveled to Massachusetts with his younger brothers and sisters to visit him in the maximum security prison. I told him that “God would not forsake him and neither would our family-and-friends community”. Arnie has grown, matured, and progressed during this lengthy period of imprisonment. He obtained 3 college degrees, created major rehabilitative programs within the prison and offered services to communities beyond the walls. He has been encouraged by many people, while inspiring the success of others. By examining the volumes of documents, transcripts, and opinions, it will become clear - the need to support the eventual release of my son. God Bless and One Love! Please sign the petition and encourage your family members and friends to support this effort. - Mary King
Petition to Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Eric Holcomb, Donald Trump, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives
70 Years in Prison for Being a Lookout on a 1st Offense!? Cruel and Ineffective!
It can happen to you, "Man Gets 70 Years in Prison on 1st Offense for Being a Lookout." "Only in America: Lookout Gets Life Sentence for 1st Time Offense." How can a first-time offense for robbery warrant more time than a murderer or child molester? This petition is a chance to make a difference in the lives of not only the family and friends of Vernell, but also the community. Vernell Freeman was sentenced to 70 years beginning on November 3, 2000. This sentencing was the result of going to trial with a public defender, and not a personal attorney. Vernell was charged with 2 burglaries and other crimes as a result of the burglary, such as receiving stolen items, and robbery with bodily injury. I agree and stand with the decision to incarcerate Vernell for his actions. No one deserves to have their home invaded and things taken. I have had my home invaded on 3 separate occasions so I sympathize with the victims, however, I disagree with the amount of time given for this crime. In my case the person who broke in was given probation. Vernell has to live with his mistakes forever, he can never forget what he did, but he can apologize for what he did, and repent and ask for forgiveness in an attempt to move on in life. Injustice comes in many forms, and at times when we don't recognize it, and at times there is not much we can do. In this case, we can clearly see an injustice. He went in around age 22 and will not be able to return to society, loved ones, or home until he is about 58 years old. What quality of life will he have? He will be struggling for jobs at that age, trying to rekindle relationships with his adult children and adult grandchildren who only know them through a picture, phone call, letter, or video. He loves his children, and stays in contact with them. He will also mourn and miss loved ones who are deceased, whom he will never get to show how much of a better person he has become. This was Vernell's first offense, and his first trial ever in life. He had not been to prison prior to this, 70 years is a horrid sentencing at such a young age. There have been many cases that show that you can in fact kill someone, or hurt someone and still get less time than Vernell did for his crime. According to Guerra (2014) "Judge Kurt Eisgruber in May sentenced David Wise to eight years of home detention for drugging his then-wife and raping her while she was unconscious." Wierks (2015) states that, “Two decades ago, Tony Degrafreed, 52, was convicted for killing his first wife, Stacy Degrafreed. He served 11 years in prison for her murder.” According to Garrison (2017) “A 28-year-old woman whose vehicle was used to kidnap two teenage brothers later brutally murdered was sentenced to 30 years in prison.” Vernell has completely turned his life around, he focuses on God, and God has become the center of his life. He is a positive influence on many other prisoners around him, and he has, with letters and phone conversations helped with the happiness and well-being of his home and children. This petition is not a selfish cry out for Vernell to be freed, this is a holistic cry out, because I am a mother and a teacher, and I see where our young men are headed. Vernell has a gift and talent that he discovered while in prison and so, we thank God for him going to prison, God has saved his life there. He had a chance to sit still, and grasp the life that God purposed for him. He is now ready to share this goodness with others. He is the perfect candidate to show that prison can in fact be rehabilitation for some. He has written to me these words, "Be still, be patient, listen to God- He talks to us through us - the signs are there and have always been there. It might not be how we wanted it, but it's without a doubt what we need." I know without a doubt that prison was a gift for Vernell, he was on the wrong path in life, but he has not been given a second chance to prove himself worthy for a second chance at life. What is a second chance? We use second chances all the time. Supervisors warn of what will happen if a worker encounters an infraction, we tell our children what consequence will be rendered upon a second time around, as a teacher my students get more than enough chances to turn their behavior around. What is a second chance? It is a chance to see if what you said, or did actually worked. In this case, has prison served its purpose in Vernell’s life? Benson (2003) stated that, "Until the mid-1970s, rehabilitation was a key part of U.S. prison policy. Prisoners were encouraged to develop occupational skills and to resolve psychological problems--such as substance abuse or aggression--that might interfere with their reintegration into society. Indeed, many inmates received court sentences that mandated treatment for such problems. Since then, however, rehabilitation has taken a back seat to a "get tough on crime" approach that sees punishment as prison's main function, says Haney. The approach has created explosive growth in the prison population, while having at most a modest effect on crime rates. As a result, the United States now has more than 2 million people in prisons or jails--the equivalent of one in every 142 U.S. residents--and another four to five million people on probation or parole. A higher percentage of the population is involved in the criminal justice system in the United States than in any other developed country." How do we gauge what works or not, if some people who it may have worked with, does not get a chance to show that it worked! Vernell deserves a chance to come out into society, to make a difference in our youth, and to show the courts and the prisons, that he is an example of someone who just simply needs a second chance at life. He has 2 daughters, 6 sons, and 2 grandsons that love him dearly. He has lost his dad, and many others while he has been in prison, and his mother is having current health issues. He is needed in their lives. He is needed in many other lives in this community; allow him a chance to show the goodness of his change. Are his sins different from the sins people are committing daily. Is it different for him because his are on public record? Everyone makes mistakes, sign this petition to support second chances, and to advocate against near life sentencing on 1st offense cases. Vernell is prepared to help save generations, as well as show that prison can be a positive institute if it is used in the proper manner. Thank you in advance for your support in this case. Works Cited Benson, E. (2003). Rehabilitate or Punish? Psychologists are not only providing treatment to prisoners; they're also contributing to debate over the nature of the prison itself, 34(7). Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug03/rehab.aspx Guerra, K. (2014, June 29). Marion County criminal cases with sentences less than expected. Indy Star. Retrieved from http://www.indystar.com/story/news/crime/2014/06/19/marion-county-criminal-cases-sentences-less-expected/10788647/ Wierks, K. (2015, October 6). Indianapolis man gets 60 year prison sentence for second wife’s murder. Channel 4 News. Retrieved from http://cbs4indy.com/2015/10/06/indianapolis-man-gets-60-year-prison-sentence-for-second-wifes-murder/ Garrison, S. (2017, December 1). Woman sentenced to 30 years prison for kidnapping of murdered teenage brothers. NW Indiana Times. 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