Showing posts with label Nebraska. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nebraska. Show all posts

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Former Heisman Winner Pardoned!

It is reported that former Heisman Trophy winner, Johnny "the Jet" Rodgers was granted a pardon by the Nebraska Board of Pardons on Thursday. Rodgers had robbed a gas station, as a prank, back in 1970 and was given two years' probation. Letters of support came from former Nebraska football coach and athletic director Tom Osborne, a mayor and a congressman. Said Rodgers:
"I'm seeking a pardon because this incident happened when I was 17. I had 10 minutes of insanity which has hurt me my whole life ... I'm meeting the standards ... I don't think there's anything special about what I'm requesting. It happened when I was a young man and now I'm an old man."
Attorney General Jon Bruning told Rodgers,
"You've done a lot of good things in your life: your charity and kids. But in the end, you've had 10-years of a clean record and we need to treat similar people similarly whether they are widely known or not." 
Now, Rodgers is said to be "off to San Diego" in order to "clear a felon in possession of a gun from his record." 32 additional persons were pardoned. See fulls story here.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Nebraska: Pardon for Heisman Winner Rodgers?

FOX 42 News reports 62-year old Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers will be seeking a pardon from the State of Nebraska. More specifically, Rodgers will be asking for "a full pardon" for a 1971 felony conviction for grand larceny. As Rodger tells it:
A couple of buddies of mine, ah, we were on the very last day of school. So we were out to get some gas and we stopped at the gas station and saw a guy in there and we said let get this guy's money. So we go in and we get the money from the guy and we go off and we forget about it. We got 90 dollars, 30 dollars each. And from that point on I was in a state of nervousness.
Now, Rodgers says he is in the "last chapter of my life" and he does not "want it to end" with the conviction on his "record."  See story here.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Nebraska: Pardon

The Lincoln Journal Star reports that 48 year old Kendra Williams-Russell, who is seeking to become a "mental health counselor," has been granted a pardon via the unanimous vote of the State's Board of Pardons. The Board (consisting of Gov. Dave Heineman, Secretary of State John Gale, and Attorney General Jon Bruninghas) recently considered about 50 applications and it is reported that the process takes "about a year from the time an application is received." See full article here.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Nebraska: No Consideration for Juvenile Life Sentences

The State's Constitution gives the State's three member Pardon Board sole authority to decide whether a life sentence can be reduced to a specific number of years. But Senator Brenda Council is particularly concerned that the Board be able to consider parole for juveniles who have received life sentences. Evidently, Governor Dave Heineman is not so enthusiastic about the idea, even if applicants have served 20 years! The State's Supreme Court has also said a previous law which specified “life without parole” was void because it was "improperly adopted" (during a special session of the Legislature). See story here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Nebraska: Commutation

The Omaha World Herald reports that the State's Board of Pardons has voted to commute the life-sentence of 54-year old Reginald Bennett, who was convicted of first degree murder in the late 70s. The commutation reduced Bennett's sentence to 64 to 90 years. As he has now served 32 years, he would be eligible for release on supervised parole later this year. Bennett has been described as a "model prisoner" who "accepted Christ" in prison and has a "low" risk of recidivism.

The commutation, however, came via a 2-1 vote and over the "vehement objections" of Governor Dave Heineman. The Board consists of the State's Attorney General, John Bruning. Secretary of State, John Gale, and the Governor. The Herald guesses that the State's Board has acted in this manner maybe two times in some two decades. See full story here and here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nebraska: Free After 50 Years!

Molli Graham of Action 3 News Omaha provides coverage on the fascinating story on Jerry Erwing who will walk out of prison just before Thanksgiving after being imprisoned for murder almost 50 years ago! Erwing's codefendent, who actually committed the murder, was paroled 25 years ago. See report here.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Nebraska: Clemency and Jobs

This article notes many employers now ask applicants "about their entire conviction history, not just felonies." As a result, "almost 60 percent of the 44 people seeking pardons in August listed a job-related reason." In addition, "people who had no problems with jobs 10 years ago are finding their record trumps their job performance."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Nebraska: Requests

The Grand Island Independent reports that the Nebraska Board of Pardons will hold a public meeting on Wednesday in the governor’s hearing room (State Capitol). William J. Spagnotti is requesting a full pardon. He was convicted of burglary and sentenced to three years probation in 1986. Jesus Mendosa Madrigal is also requesting a full pardon. He was sentenced to two years probation in 1997 after being convicted of attempted possession of a controlled substance. See story here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Nebraska: Requests

Thomas Winslow, JoAnn Taylor, James Dean, Kathy Gonzalez and Debra Shelden plead guilty or no contest to the rape and suffocation of a 68-year-old woman in 1985. The Beatrice Daily Sun says what the Nebraska Board of Pardons (consisting of the Governor, Secretary of State and Attorney General) will do with the requests "remains to be seen" despite the fact that "law enforcement authorities say they have identified the true killer." It is also reported that those who pleaded guilty "gave false confessions or took plea deals to avoid the death penalty." In addition, the interrogation techniques by investigators "have since been discredited." See story here.

UPDATE: The Board has granted 5 pardons related to the case. See story here.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Nebraska: Commutation, then Parole

Leslie Reed of the Midlands News Service reports the Nebraska Supreme Court has ruled that Edward Poindexter, sentenced to life in prison for the 1971 slaying of a police officer, is not a proper candidate for parole. The high court's ruling said inmates who are serving life sentences for first-degree murder can only be considered for parole after they have had their original sentences commuted. The Nebraska Board of Pardons - composed of the governor, attorney general and secretary of state - has the power to grant such commutations. Why was Poindexter trying so hard to get a hearing before the State's Parole Board? Reed reports that the Board of Pardons "has not commuted a life sentence for first-degree murder in nearly two decades." See story here.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Nebraska: Request

In 1964, Jerry Erving and Larry Hall shot a bartender during a robbery which also included three bottles of whiskey. After a conviction for first-degree murder and a life sentence, the bar was torn down and Erving's wife divorced him. But Larry Hall, who had actually fired the weapon, was paroled more than 20 years ago. Erving's attorney says, "This case was one to me that I just couldn't rationalize professionally or any other way. How you could continue to hold this guy accountable?" Now Jerry Erving is about to make his third request for clemency (a commutation of sentence). In Nebraska, the clemency board consists of the governor, secretary of state and attorney general. See complete story here.

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