Wednesday, December 17, 2008

You can help

You can urge President George W. Bush to commute the sentences of deserving federal prisoners.
He needs to hear from Americans -- in large numbers -- to know that his conscience is leading him in the right direction.
The information you need is below.

I am blogging today because Kemba Smith, whose 24-year sentence was commuted by President Clinton eight years ago, tells some of her story today in an oped in USA Today.

Additional background about Kemba: About 15 years ago, Kemba Smith was an attractive, sheltered girl, who arrived in college who was captivated by a charming young man. Falling in love with him was a mistake. He was not really a charming college student. It was the well-constructed facade of a clever and ruthless crack dealer, and manipulative abuser of women. But Kemba dropped out of college to accompany her lover. His crimes were being investigated by Federal agents, but before he could be charged, he was murdered. Kemba got charged instead, pleaded guilty, and she was sentenced in 1995 to 24 years pursuant to the mandatory minimums of 1986 and the sentencing guidelines of 1987. In 2000, President Clinton mercifully commuted her sentence.

Once again, Americans in large numbers -- you, your family, your friends, and mine -- need to encourage President Bush to follow his conscience and commute the sentences of those whose sentences are unjustly long.

Please email President Bush:
Better, call his office 202-456-1111
Even better write, via fax.

If you wrote to him about Clarence Aaron, GREAT.
Then write to him about Hamedah Hasan.

Support him in his use of this power in deserving cases.
You could sign this petition.
Suggest persons who you know who deserve his mercy.
This is part of a nationwide campaign! Visit Crack The Disparity.

Here is the letter I sent to him by fax about Clarence Aaron:
The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500
Via Fax 202-456-2461

Re: Commutation of Sentence for Clarence Aaron

Dear Mr. President:

I urge you to commute the sentence of Clarence Aaron. He was convicted by a jury in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Alabama for his role in a crack cocaine distribution conspiracy over 15 years ago when he was a college student. Between 1970 and 1986, the maximum penalty for a trafficking violation of the Controlled Substances Act was 15 years. After the cocaine overdose of basketball star Len Bias in 1986, the maximum penalty was raised to life imprisonment. The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines that were adopted in Nov. 1987, provided for life sentences for trafficking or conspiring to traffic in more than 1.5 kilograms of cocaine base – 1500 grams, a little more than 3 pounds. This is excessively long.

The facts of Mr. Aaron’s case have recently been published by at,2933,461747,00.html and,2933,463410,00.html

This is an appropriate case for you to exercise your power under Article II, section 2 of the Constitution.

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Sincerely yours,

Eric E. Sterling

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