We Want Pardons: Petition to Save Bush's Legacy by Persuading Him to Pardon Thousands of Nonviolent Drug Offenders

(Please click here to send a copy of this petition in your own name to President Bush, Vice-President Cheney, and your US Representative and Senators if you live in the US.)

Don't just pardon Scooter Libby and
Thanksgiving turkeys, President Bush!

We, the undersigned, ask you to save your legacy by releasing thousands of nonviolent drug offenders from federal prison before you leave office. Short of taking such a measure, you will be doomed to go down in history as a hypocrite.

Unlike President Clinton, you cannot point to a record of mercy toward people caught in the criminal justice system. While the overall Clinton record in criminal justice was not lenient, he did commute the sentences of 63 people, most of them neither wealthy nor powerful, including 29 nonviolent drug offenders.

You, by contrast, commuted only three prisoners' sentences prior to helping Scooter Libby, one every two years. You have pardoned four times as many Thanksgiving turkeys as people you've released from prison.

Even worse, in 2003 your attorney general, John Ashcroft, issued guidelines requiring federal prosecutors to always seek the maximum possible amount of prison time for defendants, with only limited exceptions permitted.

The measure we've called for will undoubtedly be controversial, but you will have defenders from across the political spectrum. Advocates will assist your staff in finding appropriate cases -- reopening cases you've previously rejected would give the project a good head start. Clemency petitions will undoubtedly start to pour in once you put the word out. You can answer critics by saying we need to redirect our resources toward national security instead. And it will be consistent with the sympathy you've expressed in the past, based on your personal experiences, for people who have struggled with substance abuse.

In the nation that is the world's leading jailer, which incarcerates a far greater percentage of its population than any other nation yet calls itself "land of the free," the president who helps to reverse that pattern will ultimately be recognized for it. Indeed, the "tough-on-crime" laws that have led us to this situation were mainly enacted for political reasons. Please pardon or commute the sentences of thousands of nonviolent drug offenders; please rescind the aforementioned Ashcroft directive; renounce your support for the drug war (at least in its current form); and call on Congress to repeal mandatory minimum sentences and authorize downward revision of most federal sentencing guidelines.

You have a year and a half left to prove that justice is for everyone -- not just for your friends. Will you rise to the occasion? History is watching.

(Please click here to send a copy of this petition in your own name to President Bush, Vice-President Cheney, and your US Representative and Senators if you live in the US.)

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Please Let this Be a Blessing from GOD

My husband has been in federal prison in for the last three years for a nonviolent drug offense. I know he was given more time than he should have received, but we can not afford to fight the case. So I am asking that if you do consider pardoning any of the nonviolent drug offenders that my husband be one of the cases you look into. I have sent request to the judge, public defenders and several other offices requsting some kind of help to have his sentence reduced and they don't even have the decency to respond at all. This is the letter that I have sent to the courts and others that were involved in the proceedings. Please take the time to read it and see if there is anything that can possibly be done to get my husband home our daughter and I need him.

I am requesting support on a request for Reduction of Sentence for my husband Robert A. Hall IV #43302180 ( Docket No. SA-04CR-006-001-OG). It is my belief that his sentence was excessive for a part he played in a 2003/2004 drug conviction.

Mr. Hall plead guilty and signed (per his public defender) for 60 months. Mr. Hall actually ended up being sentenced to 92 months (per the Judge).

In April of 2007 marked three years of incarceration. His release date is posted as December 2010. This is excessive, because Mr. Hall was not the main player in this case.

The Federal Agents had been trying to catch the drug traffickers in our apartment complex prior to our moving to that area. My husband and I moved to Texas in September 2003. We did not know anyone in our area. We did not socialize with the neighbors for at least the first month of moving into that area. It is my opinion that, because my husband not being from this state was an easy target (scape goat). Not to say that he is innocent, I do believe he deserves prison time, but not to the extent that he has received.

My husband a truck driver had lost his job, because of our agreement to move to Texas to be closer to my family (because of illnesses of several of my family members). I was in the middle of trying to transfer my electrical union membership from Las Vegas, Nevada to here in Texas. When we moved from Nevada I was given the impression that my membership transfer would be simple and I would be able to go to work immediately, but when I got here that was not the case. I also had trouble getting my unemployment check transferred to Texas. This whole situation caused my husband to make a terrible decision in an attempt to provide for his family.

My husband became acquainted with neighbors and was propositioned to make some quick money and that is how he ended up in the situation he is in now. As I have stated we moved to Texas in September 2003. My husband was detained and released for the drug charges in November 2003. He was arrested several months later on his way out to work in April/May 2004, because that is when the Feds wanted to file charges on my husband for the November 2003 incident ( he had no other incidences during this 6 month period and he did not attempt to flee the state).

Mr. Hall was basically a runner for Charles Stanton McIntyre a supplier who has had several convictions for the same charges. The supplier in this case received less time than my husband ( 85 months).

The arrest went as follows:

Mr. Hall was called by the supplier to make a delivery. The runner ( Mr. Hall my husband) met the supplier, the supplier got in the vehicle Mr. Hall was driving. The supplier put the drugs (crack cocaine) in the glove compartment told Mr. Hall where to deliver the drugs and exited the vehicle. The supplier then returned to his vehicle and left the seen. This entire transaction was witnessed by the Federal Agents. Once the supplier left the seen the Feds surrounded Mr. Hall’s vehicle and detained him. During the bust the supplier made a u-turn to make sure Mr. Hall was not in trouble and the supplier was also detained at that time. Mr. Hall (the runner) was detained and released after several hours.

Mr. Hall was not the supplier, I believe his sentence should be reduced based on the fact we had only been in Texas for two months and the court paperwork dates are totally incorrect it reflects dates that we did not reside in Texas. Mr. Hall was only acquainted with the supplier for less than one month. This should be an obvious sign that my husband is not an established drug dealer. Like I said before he simply made a terrible, terrible decision in an attempt to provide for his family, with no intention of making this a continuous means of making money.

During his incarceration Mr. Hall has had exemplary behavior. He has received his GED , he has instructed a Commercial Driver’s License Truck Driving Courses, he has completed a “Ready, Prepared and Marketable Pre-Release Program, he has completed a Small Business Management Course, he has completed a 40 Hour Drug Education Course, he has completed a 12-hour “Commitment to Change Counseling Group, he has completed a Fathers That C.A.R.E Parenting Program. Mr. Hall takes pride in being a mentor to others encouraging them to change their ways, he exercises daily to improve his health, and he has also become a Christian. He attends church regularly while incarcerated and has on his own contacted the church that I am a member of here in San Antonio, Texas (Redeeming Grace Baptist Church) to become a member. The Pastor at my church has contacted him and the Pastor has forwarded him the membership package and other reading material. The Pastor has also written my husband letters that have truly inspired him.

The time that my husband has served has made him realize that he needs to make better choices. I believe in my heart that it was a blessing and has helped us grow spiritually. I also believe that the extent of his sentence is excessive. We have an 8 year old daughter (she was 6 when he was sentenced) that has suffered from this as well and it would be in the best interest of our entire family that Mr. Hall be considered for a commutation of sentence or sentence reduction. Mr. Hall lost his father and uncle in a trucking accident on March 6, 2007. The loss of his father has made his time a little more difficult to stay focused. His mother has several health issue as well. Please consider a sentence reduction.

I know that he is a changed man. I am a Texas licensed electrician so there would be no financial issues, making it possible for him to return to any drug activity. Again, please consider this request of a reduction of sentence.

Cordially,
Tia Statam-Hall
(210) 787-9718

Tia Statam-Hall
7739 Fallen Pine
Converse , TX 78109

Robert A. Hall #43302180
FCI EL RENO
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 1500
El Reno, OK 73036

Drug Offenders Should Never Be Put Into Prison--Not Ever

Prisons are a failed system. In the 19th century, Quakers proposed our current prison system to reform a far more abusive system, based on the Quaker practice of enlightenment through solitary meditation, but in spite of their lofty and positive position, the current system turned into a university for future criminals.

Prisons seldom rehabilitate, and for the most part, they do not serve as a deterrent. The most that can be said for them is that they temporarily keep dangerous people off of the street. Unfortunately, when dangerous people are put into crime university, they graduate with more criminal skills and more hatred to unleash on regular society.

When you break the prison population into subgroups, you find that almost every group of prison inmate could be dealt with more effectively. There is a subgroup of prisoners who are mentally ill and who would benefit more from being treated. Some thieves and other property criminals would be best rehabilitated by a system that effectively prepares them for jobs, places them into supervised and locked halfway houses that are connected to transitional employment, and job placement support for when they leave transitional employment.

Violent criminals do need to be incarcerated, but the programs involved with the incarceration need to be based on scientifically proven treatment programs, and these need to be targeted appropriately. One size definitely does not fit all.

Drug offenses fall into two categories. One category involves physical addiction, which is in reality a medical condition, rather than a legal problem. Medical problems need a medical solution.

The other category of drug offenses are the soft drugs, which are truly victimless crimes. People who commit victimless crimes should never be housed in crime university, because when they come out, their crimes will no longer fall into this same category.

Victimless crimes can be best handled through regulation, so that, for instance, medical marijuana patients can easily get the marijuana that they need for an affordable, untaxed price, and other members of the society can obtain what they want through regulated outlets which generate tax income. We know how to do that as a society, and we also know that the period of alcohol Prohibition was a hotbed of criminal activity.

People are never going to give up their alcohol and drugs, with or without legal sanctions. Truthful education programs and access to appropriate support programs and appropriate medical interventions have been proven to be far more effective methods of addressing drug issues than jail.

Our prison systems generate hatred and violence, as well as reactive racism. Governmental racism exists at every juncture on the road to prison, starting from the fact that it is legally far more dangerous to drive while black than to drive while white. People who feel enraged by injustice are not necessarily going to express their rage in a reasoned and appropriate manner.

The violence and injustice experienced daily by prisoners, as well as the violence and injustice that they experience on the way to the slammer do not serve the rest of us. We are all less safe because of the violence and injustice that we perpetrate every day on the millions of people who are inappropriately incarcerated, regularly abused by both the system and other inmates while in prison, denied appropriate treatment programs for physical dependencies, and turned out into the world without support, without rehabilitation programs, and without treatment for underlying conditions that have contributed to their criminal activity.

Prisons are a failed system which have never been proven to work. If we set the goal of abolishing prisons altogether, we'll probably fail, but along the way, we'll create alternatives that work far better for the vast majority of inmates and for the rest of us as well.

Cougar Brenneman

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