Post Date: March 2, 2016
FAMM is receiving many questions about clemency from people who are worried that time is running out for their loved one to file for a sentence commutation before President Obama leaves office next January.
Some of your loved ones have filed for clemency directly with the Office of the Pardon Attorney. Many have filled out the survey for the Clemency Project 2014. Some of your loved ones who filled out a survey have been contacted by the Clemency Project to sign consent forms. Of those people who returned the consent form, some have been assigned a lawyer to represent them and that lawyer has contacted them to say they are assigned to your case.
There are others who have not heard from a lawyer yet and have not been told they have representation. Even if CP2014 reached out to your loved one requesting access to their PSR in order to determine their eligibility for the program, unless you have heard affirmatively from a lawyer that they are engaging directly in your personal case, you should consider filing outside the program.
If your loved one has not received a letter from a Clemency Project 2014 that a lawyer has been assigned to represent them, please read on.
While the Clemency Project is continuing to assign attorneys, if your loved one doesn’t yet have an attorney, we recommend they proceed in filing their own petition. It is not difficult to do and here are some pointers to help you. The prison staff is also available to answer questions.
As you write your clemency petition, keep in mind a couple of things.
The Clemency Project is still recruiting lawyers and assigning them to prisoners who want their help. If your loved one files their own clemency petition and later hears from a Clemency Project lawyer, that’s fine. Your loved one should tell the lawyer they have done their own petition and then send the lawyer a copy. The lawyer can look at what they wrote and supplement it with additional supporting arguments.
Remember, it is not necessary to have a lawyer file a clemency petition. While it can be helpful, the bulk of successful clemency petitions have been filed by prisoners themselves. Don’t forget, if your loved one is turned down for clemency, they can reapply in a one year.
FAMM is not able to answer emails, calls, or letters about whether your loved one meets the criteria for clemency. FAMM cannot provide a lawyer or give you legal advice.