Friday, January 10, 2014

The Pardon Project

On December 19th of 2013, President Obama granted clemency to eight people and issued an additional thirteen pardons.  This positive development started to reverse a trend which had seen American citizens receive pardons at a rate only marginally higher than Thanksgiving turkeys.  But progress is progress.

Here at the Kansas Federal Defender office, we are encouraged by President Obama's decision, and are implementing a project designed to capitalize on it.  While the changes made in the Fair Sentencing Act are certainly an improvement,  there are still thousands of people serving long prison sentences because of mandatory minimum sentences imposed in crack cocaine cases that are now universally derided as unfair and racially biased.

So, we are looking for volunteers.  We intend to request a series of pardons for a number of the defendants our office has represented during the litigation of Sentencing Guideline amendments 706 and 750, which retroactively lowered guideline sentences in crack cocaine cases.  Many of these defendants, for reasons unrelated to the gravity of their crime or their progress in rehabilitation, continue to languish in prison.  And to seek those pardons, we need your help.

Are you a law student (or do you know one) who has a commitment to justice?  Would you like to gain practical experience in the administration of criminal law?  Do you mind working for free?  If you answered "yes" to any two of those questions, please contact kirk_redmond@fd.org to inquire.

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