Friday, July 24, 2015

Oh Yeah ... and THAT !

In today's Baltimore Sun, David W. Ogden (former deputy attorney general of the United States), Kelly P. Dunbar and Jessica B. Leinwand, attorneys at Wilmer Hale LLP write a letter re President Obama's commutation of the life sentence of Norman O'Neal Brown. Even Brown's sentencing judge thought the mandatory sentence he had to impose was "disproportionate." Twenty four years later, the Sun concluded that the life sentence did not make "sense."

Brown's lawyers agree, of course, but add:
... the editorial missed an important — indeed, the crucial — part of why Mr. Brown was deserving of commutation. Put simply, Mr. Brown has transformed his life. Facing life imprisonment with no possibility of parole in his early 20s, Mr. Brown nonetheless dedicated his life to helping others, by mentoring younger inmates and steering them away from lives of crime. He never received a disciplinary violation in his decades in prison. He created and led various prison support groups and he took it upon himself to work with young men coming into prison. Prison staff praised Mr. Brown as a "model prisoner." Upon his release, Mr. Brown hopes to work with underprivileged youth in his community — in particular, to help persuade young men not to engage in crime. He has made it his life's mission to help others avoid the tragic mistakes he made as a young man.
Yes, easy to see how those kinds of details would be missed. See full letter here.

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