Yesterday, DOJ announced a new Pardon Attorney and six criteria to determine eligibility for the expanded commutation policy. Those new criteria apply to inmates like these:
1. They are currently serving a federal sentence in prison and, by operation of law, likely would have received a substantially lower sentence if convicted of the same offense(s) today;
2. They are non-violent, low-level offenders without significant ties to large scale criminal organizations, gangs or cartels;
3. They have served at least 10 years of their prison sentence;
4. They do not have a significant criminal history;
5. They have demonstrated good conduct in prison; and
6. They have no history of violence prior to or during their current term of imprisonment.
Had these criteria been earlier adopted and implemented, Hamedah Ali Hasan would have become the prototypical candidate, freed of the nightmare I wrote about yesterday. For her, all this recent sound and fury signifies absolutely nothing.
Sorry Ms. Hasan. Time flies. In your absence, your children have grown up and have children of their own. Why did it take us so long? It’s complicated. Shit happens.
One last item.
Buried at the bottom of the DOJ’s statement is this little nugget:
Deputy Attorney General Cole sent a letter to all of the 93 U.S. attorneys asking for their assistance in identifying meritorious candidates and notifying them that the Pardon Attorney’s Office will be soliciting their views on petitions that appear to meet the criteria after an initial screening by the lawyers in the Office of the Pardon Attorney. (Emphasis added by Kopf.)
Note to self: What steps will the US Attorney’s office in Nebraska take to promptly comply in good faith with the new affirmative obligation to “identify meritorious candidates . . . .” Mrs. Gilg, are you listening?