A brief clemency follow-up and a question for Nebraska’s US Attorney

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?


5 responses

  1. Pingback: The Path To “Merciless” (Update) | Simple Justice

  2. I’m an AUSA in a border state. Upon receiving that memo, I immediately went to my supervisor and asked if it would be ok with my office if I applied for the program. Then I asked my college sophomore daughter what she thought about my participating. Here’s what she said: “I think you should follow your career to a point where you feel that you’re able to achieve the best kind of justice.” Although AUSAs in my circuit have been getting a bad rap lately for being “overzealous,” there are still at least a few of us who just want to do what is just and fair, and follow the law.

    My best wishes to your (hopefully improving) health.

  3. 9th Circuit Sister,

    Wonderful. This is a terrific opportunity to make a real and long lasting difference not only in the lives of prisoners and their family but the culture at Main Justice. Thank you.

    All the best.


  4. That is what I love about being a state court judge here in Alabama. There are almost no mandatory sentences for anything, I can suspend the sentence in about every case, thus I have never been force to sentence a defendant to a sentence I thought was unjust.

    The one exception was a woman I think was clearly wrongfully convicted of attempted murder (attempting to kill her ex-husband who had been raping her daughter). Her 18 her old son admitted he did it alone and I declared him a youthful offender and gave him probation but I was fresh out of medals. I suspended her sentence and gave her informal probation. The D.,A. screamed about it being an illegal sentence (it was) and would be appealed but it never was.

%d bloggers like this: