ACLU: U.S. Attorneys Are Prolonging the Incarceration of Wrongly Imprisoned People

October 25, 2012

ACLU Urges Justice Department to Take Immediate Corrective Action to Release or Provide Relief to Those Wrongly Incarcerated, As Officials Had Promised

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

RALEIGH – U.S. attorneys have still not taken all promised steps to provide relief to potentially hundreds of federal inmates in North Carolina whose convictions or sentences have since been found improper, the American Civil Liberties Union and its North Carolina and Massachusetts affiliates wrote in an Oct. 12 letter to federal officials. The letter comes more than a month after the U.S. Department of Justice vowed to take “concrete steps” to provide appropriate relief.

In August the ACLU asked the Justice Department to take immediate action to identify and assist all federal inmates in North Carolina who remain incarcerated for violating federal gun possession laws even though a 2011 decision by the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in United States v. Simmons has since found that it was not federal crime for them to have a gun.

In an Oct. 12 letter to H. Marshall Jarrett, Director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, the ACLU writes that the Justice Department continues to oppose post-conviction relief for the vast majority of improperly sentenced inmates and that U.S. attorneys in the Western District of North Carolina are “still prolonging the incarceration of innocent people” by failing to respond in a timely manner to motions for relief.

“The [Justice] Department’s response to Simmons has been, and continues to be, inadequate,” the letter states. “…It is unfortunate that, more than a year after Simmons, there is still so much justice left to be done. But we are hopeful that the Department will take corrective action now.”

Read the entire letter online at acluofnc.org.

The ACLU of North Carolina is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to preserving and expanding the guarantees of individual liberty found in the United States and North Carolina Constitutions and related federal and state civil rights laws. With more than 12,000 members and supporters throughout the state and an office located in Raleigh, the organization achieves its mission through advocacy, public education, community outreach, and when necessary, litigation.

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