|Federal Clemency Attorney|
"This new and improved approach will make the criteria for clemency recommendation more expansive. This will allow the Department of Justice and the president to consider requests from a larger field of eligible individuals." Attorney General Eric Holder April 21, 2014.
A Video Message from the
Attorney General of the United States
“In 2010, President Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act, reducing unfair disparities in sentences imposed on people for offenses involving different forms of cocaine.
“But there are still too many people in federal prison who were sentenced under the old regime – and who, as a result, will have to spend far more time in prison than they would if sentenced today for exactly the same crime.
“This is simply not right.
“Legislation pending in Congress would help address these types of cases. In the meantime, President Obama took a sensible step towards addressing this situation by granting commutations last December to eight men and women who had each served more than 15 years in prison for crack cocaine offenses. For two of these individuals, it was the first conviction they’d ever received – yet, due to mandatory minimum guidelines that were considered severe at the time, and are profoundly out of date today – they and four others received life sentences.
“These stories illustrate the vital role that the clemency process can play in America’s justice system.
“The White House has indicated it wants to consider additional clemency applications, to restore a degree of justice, fairness, and proportionality for deserving individuals who do not pose a threat to public safety. The Justice Department is committed to recommending as many qualified applicants as possible for reduced sentences.
“Later this week, the deputy attorney general will announce new criteria that the department will consider when recommending applications for the President’s review. This new and improved approach will make the criteria for clemency recommendation more expansive. This will allow the Department of Justice and the president to consider requests from a larger field of eligible individuals.
“Once these reforms go into effect, we expect to receive thousands of additional applications for clemency. And we at the Department of Justice will meet this need by assigning potentially dozens of lawyers – with backgrounds in both prosecution and defense – to review applications and provide the rigorous scrutiny that all clemency applications require.
“As a society, we pay much too high a price whenever our system fails to deliver the just outcomes necessary to deter and punish crime, to keep us safe, and to ensure that those who have paid their debts have a chance to become productive citizens.
“Our expanded clemency application process will aid in this effort. And it will advance the aims of our innovative new Smart on Crime initiative – to strengthen the criminal justice system, promote public safety and deliver on the promise of equal justice under law.”