President Obama Announces a Second Set of More than 100 Clemency Grants This Month

August 30, 2016 4:45 pm

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WASHINGTON — In his second set of clemency grants this month, President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 111 prisoners today, 72 of whom were applicants whose petitions were supported by Clemency Project 2014. Today’s grants bring the total number of commutations granted by President Obama since taking office to 673.

Cynthia W. Roseberry, project manager for Clemency Project 2014, said: “Today’s grants come only a few weeks after the president granted a record number of clemency petitions. On behalf of the project and the countless people it serves, I want to express how pleased I am with the continued commitment that President Obama has shown toward commuting sentences. We are looking forward to many more grants during the remaining months of President Obama’s term in office.”

Among the 111 prisoners are Danielle Metz, Rudy Martinez, and Timothy Tyler, who are featured in the American Civil Liberties Union’s 2013 report, A Living Death: Life Without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses.

Ms. Metz has been in prison since 1993 on conspiracy to distribute cocaine and related nonviolent charges. In her interview for the report, she told the ACLU, “The hardest part of all is the separation from my children. We need each other terribly. How do you tell your child, ‘Mama will never be coming home?’ My heart aches to know that all the love I pour out to them may not be enough to convince them that I haven’t left them so far away out of not caring for them.”

Since 1992, Mr. Martinez has been serving a life sentence without parole for drug distribution and other nonviolent charges. In a letter to the ACLU for the report, he wrote, “No words could ever fully describe the pain within when you know that you will never spend any type of quality time with your children, for the rest of their lives. I wish that on no parent.”

Mr. Tyler, incarcerated since 1994, is serving a life sentence without parole for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute LSD and another nonviolent charge.

“We thank the president for commuting the sentences of 111 federal prisoners today and for his continued use of fairness and proportionality to push back against years of irrational sentencing laws handed down during our failed War on Drugs that have harmed thousands of people and their families,” said Ezekiel Edwards, director of the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project. “As a result of decades of harsh policies, thousands more still wait for fair treatment. We are hopeful that the president’s laudable efforts will extend to every prisoner seeking commutation of an excessive sentence and that this country moves towards more humane, equitable, and effective drug policies.”

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 33,000 of the more than 36,000 federal prisoners who have requested volunteer assistance. As of today, Clemency Project 2014 has submitted more than 1,600 petitions to the Office of the Pardon Attorney, with many more nearing submission.

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

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