Sunday, April 26, 2015

Clemency Project 2014

Clemency Project 2014 – a working group composed of lawyers and advocates including the Federal Defenders, the American Civil Liberties Union, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, the American Bar Association, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, as well as individuals active within those organizations – launched in January after Deputy Attorney General James Cole asked the legal profession to provide pro bono (free) assistance to federal prisoners who would likely have received a shorter sentenced if they had been sentenced today. Clemency Project 2014 members collaborate to recruit and train attorneys on how to screen for prisoners who meet [specific] criteria... and assist prisoners who meet the criteria to find lawyers to represent them. Clemency Project 2014 lawyers provide assistance free of charge to applicants. Anyone asking you to pay is not working with Clemency Project 2014.

Clemency Project 2014 is reviewing requests from prisoners to determine if a prisoner has served ten years and does not have an obviously disqualifying feature (such as a crime of violence). Prisoners who appear to qualify are assigned a lawyer. That lawyer then writes to the prisoner for permission to review documents in his or her case to determine if the other criteria are met. If the criteria are met, the prisoner is assigned a lawyer to help them fill out and file a clemency petition. That might be the same lawyer who wrote to the prisoner for permission to review their documents or it might be a new one. In either event, the lawyer is writing to the prisoner to be sure they want free counsel to help them write and submit a petition for commutation.


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