President Commutes Life Without Parole Sentence of ACLU Client Ricky Minor

October 6, 2016 5:00 pm

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WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama today commuted the sentences of 102 people, including Ricky Minor, 53, who has been serving life without parole for a nonviolent drug offense since 2001. The American Civil Liberties Union represented Minor in his application for clemency and featured him in the report “A Living Death: Life Without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses.”

“Ricky Minor was supposed to die in prison because he committed a nonviolent drug offense—a punishment far too harsh for the crime,” said Emma Andersson, Minor’s attorney and staff attorney with the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project. “More than 15 years after Ricky was sent to prison forever, President Obama has given him a chance to rejoin his family and rebuild a life ravaged by the failed War on Drugs.”

“I have become a better man over the last 15 years, and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be the person I am now out in the world,” said Minor upon the news of his commutation. “Thanks to President Obama, I now have the chance to make my family proud of me, earn pride in myself, and be a person in society who is helpful and useful. I have felt my life wasting away inside of this place, and I know I’m capable of more. I haven’t been able to hug my daughter as a free man since she was 7 years old. She’s an adult now, and I am overcome with happiness that I won’t miss any more of her life.”

Minor was sentenced to mandatory life without parole for attempting to manufacture methamphetamine. As he issued Minor’s sentence, Judge Clyde Roger Vinson told the court, “If I had any discretion at all, I would not impose a life sentence…”

While in prison, Minor has earned his GED and taken classes in computer skills, business, real estate, and accounting.

For “A Living Death: Life Without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses,” visit:

For more information about Clemency Project 2014, visit:

For more information about the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project, visit:

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