Thursday, January 22, 2009

Iowa: A Pardon Success Story

Tony Ley has a piece at the DesMoines Register about 52-year old Phillip Emmert whose 27-year no-parole prison sentence was commuted by George W. Bush two years ago. Ley notes Emmert spent 14 years in federal prison "for selling methamphetamine to support a drug habit."

But by all accounts, his life out of prison has been a success - getting a job, being promoted, caring for his wife, being active in his church, etc. Emmert also has opinions about the pardon power. Referring to President Bush, he said:
"If I were [the President], I'd call the pardon attorney and say, 'Give me a list. I know there's got to be deserving people out there. Give me a list, so I can help some people on my way out of here.' "
Emmert is now said to be optimistic in his hope that President Obama will consider easing the Nation's strict anti-drug laws, which have sent thousands of nonviolent offenders to prison for years or decades. But, according to Ley, Emmert believes the "first step" would be to create "a more open atmosphere at the Office of the Pardon Attorney," the Justice Department agency that screens requests for pardons and commutations. Says Emmert:

"There's got to be other people out there who deserve this," he said of his reprieve. "Their job should be to look for those people. It shouldn't be just to rubber-stamp every application, 'No.'"
We could not have said it any better. Great reporting Tony. Best of luck, Phillip. See story here.

* This story was visited by the Executive Office of the President of the United States on 12/8/2015 and 3/29/2016


aurora said...

My brother is 28 years old, living in a smaller Iowa town. About 5 years ago he was doing Meth with his wife and was going down the wrong path, especially with his 3 children. They were driving and got pulled over. He got caught with Meth, and enough of it to get, "intent to sell". He went to jail for a while, paid his dues, and ended up with a felony on his record.

This really changed him. He wanted to do better by his children, and decided to turn things around. He has since left his wife and he is committed to helping our mother out as much as he can. He has his children 1/2 time and has continued on with his college education. The problem: It has been 5 years, he is completely a new man, but he cannot find a job for the life of him. He wants to help my mother and support his children, but has applied everywhere. Refusing to lie on an application, he has been refused (as he has been told) because of his felony. It is a small area, he has no license due to the ordeal, and his options are very limited. He has looked for over two years now for work and most employers wont give him a time of day.

A young man, who made a bad mistake, will now pay for it for a long, long time. During this time, he somehow has to pay child support, take care of and feed his children, and support my mother. My mother, on disability income, is doing what she can to help him, but he wants to work and help her.

Looking for advise from anyone. We are just starting our search for direction...

Anonymous said...

Time is the best tool. If he can move out of state that would be the first thing I would do. You see in Iowa he has a paper trail and detailed online criminal records anyone can look up. Smaller companies are less liklely to do a backround check compared to larger ones. I'm not saying he should lie but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. Look into construction. Trucking would be another option except he has no liscense. Start your own buisness and you will not have to worry about the record. I understand the frustrations and unfortunately some people will never forgive, but some will. Apply for a pardon. The current governor Branstand has a son that got multiple OWI's and understands addiction, perhaps he can give your brother some relief. Go to the Board of Pardons and Parole and request a pardon packet which is free of charge. Don't hire an attorney which is not necassary. You can do it yourself. Some states have laws that state an employer can only check your record seven years back. I know Hawaii has a law like this. It will say have you been convicted of a felony within the last seven years. You can then answer no and be legit. Hope this helps and good look.

P.S. Ruckman, Jr. said...

The Executive Office of the President of the United States visited this post on 12/8/2015

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