Friday, November 4, Margaret (Maggie) Hanson, associate attorney, received news that her request for clemency for a pro bono client was approved by President Obama. The Office for the Pardon Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, personally called Maggie to share that her client’s sentence would be commuted. The White House has full details on all 72 of the commutations granted today.
The case dates back to 2003 when the client was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison on minor drug charges. He has already served 13 years of the sentence. If today’s current policy and sentencing guidelines were in place at the time, the client would have only been sentenced to six years. Based on the petition Maggie prepared, the client’s sentence has been shortened and he will be released on March 4, 2017. The client has plans to work and spend time with his family following his release from prison.
Senior Shareholder Nikki Mordini accepted the request and advised Maggie as well as Sarah Crane, Sarah Franklin, Emily Stork, and Elizabeth Van Arkel in the preparation of the petitions. Paralegal Natalie Rivera assisted greatly in the effort.
This case is 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. While 72 commutations were granted today, the government is continuing to review applications.