Monday, January 9, 2017

Open Letter to President

January 6, 2017

Dear President Obama:

I am a 65 year old African-American veteran of the U.S. Navy, [honorably] discharged in 1982.  I held a top secret security clearance for nuclear weapons training.  I am now the founder of Veteran Community Mentors and author of its Mission Statement (enclosed).  I cannot accomplish the mission unless I receive a sentence commutation from you.

I hope that you are concerned that after serving my country from 1976 until 1982, I was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole possibility having no prior criminal history except for a few traffic violations.  No one was killed in the incident for which I was incarcerated where I brought 4 hammers, cartons of nails, $700 in cash, an uncharged pneumatic speargun which could not have been fired, along with other personal paraphernalia on board a FedEx cargo flight that I had been scheduled to fly the previous and subsequent days.  Although I incurred the most serious injuries in the fracas, I took full responsibility and apologized to my fellow crew members in a letter that was published in the local newspaper.  I derived no possible benefit from my conduct, which makes what I did a self-victimizing "crime" with no criminal intent.  The trial judge, a conservative Republican who removed my case from a rotating docket which would have sent it to the late District Court Judge Jerome Turner (a liberal), instructed the jury with a "general intent" instead of the legally required "specific intent" mens rea element.  That was enough to get a guilty verdict instead of a not guilty by reason of insanity verdict, which would have allowed me to receive treatment and be released long ago.

The most important question now remaining is whether (A) justice and (B) the public welfare is better served by your exercising your power of clemency in my particular case.  The answer to (A) is provided by law professor Kenneth Gallant.  The answer to (B) is given by my Mission Statement at VeteranCommunityMentors.org and by my good conduct record for more than two decades of imprisonment.  Mercy is yours to grant or deny.

President Ford defended his pardon of Richard Nixon by advising the American people to consider how much Nixon had already suffered as a result of his crimes.  Ford said "I feel that Richard Nixon and his loved ones  have suffered enough and will continue to suffer no matter what I do, no matter what we, as a great and good nation, can do together."(see "Someone Must Write, the End." Newsweek, Sept. 16, 1974, 22).  This is where you can direct any naysayers and clemency critics.

I hope you agree that it's time for reciprocity for your clemency, which you will get from me and other incarcerated veteran clemency recipients who, like me, dedicate themselves to pursuing a rescue effort in economically and socially beleaguered communities across the United States.

I go beyond my request that you grant my clemency with immediate release, and commutations for honorably discharged veterans, by asking that you also stand beside us, shoulder to shoulder, in places like Chicago, when we make our presence known.  With you standing there with us, no one will doubt our legitimacy nor oppose our mission!

What matters most is that there are good people who have served our country honorably and sacrificially in every branch of the U.S. military, but have also suffered misfortunes under the criminal justice system.  From the highest general to the lowest private, we have all served and suffered in one way or another.

I believe that incarcerated U.S. veterans deserve clemency despite having no assistance from a "Clemency Project" like that which has helped nonviolent drug offenders.

I will close by reminding you that we all love you and your family out here in common-class America.  I hope you will reciprocate our love for you with love and mercy toward incarcerated veterans and our families.

Thank you in advance for your personal consideration of this clemency request.

God Bless You,

Auburn Calloway

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I believe Mr. Calloway is quite delusional and playing a race card. Most likely, his request to our current President will be met with an appropriate response. I only wish it would be published.

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