NACDL and FAMM Announce State Clemency Project
Collaborative Efforts Underway with the State of New York
Washington, DC (August 21, 2017) – The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), with support from the Foundation for Criminal Justice (FCJ), announce today a major state-focused clemency initiative, the NACDL/FAMM State Clemency Project, a program designed to help to recruit, train, and provide resource support to pro bono attorneys who will assist state prisoners to submit petitions to have their sentences commuted. Outreach has already begun to several governors’ offices across the nation. And Governor Cuomo of New York has just announced a partnership with the NACDL/FAMM State Clemency Project to develop the necessary processes and procedures to enable volunteer lawyers through the project to help prisoners seeking clemency pursuant to the Governor’s initiative. The Project will provide logistical support for the governor’s initiative, among other ways, by recruiting and training volunteer lawyers to help prisoners apply for clemency.
“We are committed to provide training and resource support to volunteer lawyers to facilitate a process through which applicants can have access to counsel who can expeditiously submit a petition that makes the case for a second chance,” said NACDL Executive Director Norman L. Reimer. “We want the executive authority to see clearly that many offenders have learned from past mistakes and are ready to safely and productively return home.”
“Those individuals who have worked hard to rehabilitate themselves and take responsibility for their mistakes deserve a chance to get out of the penalty box. Their families, communities, and state will be better off with their release,” said FAMM President Kevin Ring. “We’re excited to work with NACDL and Governor Cuomo on this important initiative and we look forward to partnering in other states.”
This project brings NACDL’s and FAMM’s collective experience as partners of the federal-level Clemency Project 2014 (CP 2014), to state-level clemency efforts. CP 2014, a partnership that also included the American Bar Association, American Civil Liberties Union and the Federal Public and Community Defenders, provided pro bono legal assistance to prisoners seeking to have their sentences commuted under specific criteria set by the White House.
Similarly the NACDL/FAMM State Clemency Project will focus on training lawyers to identify eligible prisoners based on criteria provided participating state executives. Project staff will work with state agencies to devise the most efficient way to connect applicants to volunteers, provide essential applicant information, and submit well-crafted petitions. The Project will have a state-based focus that will respond to the criteria for articulated by each governor or state clemency authority, and will rely heavily upon local attorneys, law firms and law clinics.
Ivan J. Dominguez
Director of Public Affairs & Communications
Rabiah Alicia Burks
Director of Communications
FAMM, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, promotes commonsense sentencing and prison policies that increase public safety.
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