Clemency Project 2014 Surpasses 1,000 Submitted Clemency Petitions

May 19, 2016 4:00 pm

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

WASHINGTON — Last week, Clemency Project 2014 surpassed the milestone of 1,000 clemency petitions submitted to the Office of the Pardon Attorney, with many more nearing submission.

“I could not be more proud of our volunteer lawyers for their incredible work in surpassing 1,000 submitted petitions, 120 of which have been acted upon by the Office of the Pardon Attorney,” said Cynthia W. Roseberry, project manager for Clemency Project 2014. “These worthy petitions have undergone a careful, detailed review by top-notch lawyers, and each has been determined to appear to meet the criteria laid out by the Department of Justice. Cases are now moving through the review process at an unprecedented rate. I look forward to even more grants during the remainder of President Obama’s term of office and have confidence in the president’s declaration in late 2015 that there is no ‘ceiling’ on the number of commutations he will grant.”

Clemency Project 2014, an unprecedented, independent effort by the nation’s bar, has recruited and trained nearly 4,000 volunteer lawyers from diverse practice backgrounds and completed screening of over 30,000 of the more than 36,000 federal prisoners who have requested volunteer assistance. The project’s painstaking review of these cases revealed that the overwhelming majority of those requests were by applicants who did not meet the criteria put forward by the Department of Justice in April 2014.

“The president has made a noble and ambitious commitment to undo some of the damage that decades of draconian sentencing laws have done to people and their families. But to live up to that promise, everyone involved must work faster to review petitions for clemency,” said Emma Andersson, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project. “Each petition submitted by the Clemency Project represents a person who has spent a minimum of ten years behind bars for a nonviolent offense. We encourage the president to be more aggressive in using his power to recognize that these people have paid a sufficient debt to society and ought to be reunited with their families.”

“Clemency Project 2014 thanks each and every volunteer attorney who has answered the call to take part in perhaps the largest pro bono effort in history,” said Roseberry. “We reached this milestone because of the hard work and dedication of the project’s partner organizations as well the donors who have provided generous support for the project infrastructure and core staff.”

For more information and to volunteer for Clemency Project 2014, please visit

The American Bar Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, the Federal Public and Community Defenders, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers have joined together under a working group they call Clemency Project 2014. Through the efforts of Clemency Project 2014, the participating organizations are identifying potential clemency petitioners and recruiting and training volunteer lawyers to assist them in securing clemency.

Every month, you'll receive regular roundups of the most important civil rights and civil liberties developments. Remember: a well-informed citizenry is the best defense against tyranny.

Learn More About the Issues in This Press Release