Emily Stork and Elizabeth Van Arkel received word from the U.S. Department of Justice Pardon Attorney on Tuesday, November 22, that petitions they submitted for clemency were approved by President Obama.
Emily and Elizabeth have worked since early spring on these clemency petitions. The two cases both involved individuals that were convicted of non-violent drug related offenses and were sentenced under mandatory sentencing guidelines that were more harsh than today’s guidelines.
In both cases, the gentlemen impacted have served more than 10 years in federal prison and their sentences, if convicted of the same crime today, would be less. Both men have plans to reunite with their families when released.
These cases are part of a larger program President Obama began in 2014 to grant clemency to eligible inmates whose original sentences under old guidelines were extraordinarily long. Only individuals who had already served 10 years and had no history of violence were eligible for the program. The Department of Justice’s Clemency Initiative asked attorneys across the United States to assist in the preparation of clemency petitions by working for these individuals on a pro bono basis. Seventy-nine communications were announced November 22. According to the White House, President Obama has commuted the sentences of more than 1,000 people.
Another Davis Brown attorney, Maggie Hanson, successfully appealed for clemency for a client in the same program.