Breaking News- March 5 2015

Today Larry Duke received notice that he is scheduled for immediate release

LIFE for POT-  Release Nonviolent Drug Offenders

This site features -  Nonviolent Marijuana Offenders Serving Sentences of Life without Parole or Defacto Life without Parole for Marijuana



Life for Pot - Release Nonviolent Drug Offenders
OFFERS A SUGGESTION FOR CLEMENCY


To:    President Barack Obama

          Attorney General Eric Holder

          Deputy Attorney General James Cole


A SUGGESTION FOR ADDRESSING OUR PROPENSITY FOR OVER INCARCERATION: CLEMENCY AND THE WAR ON DRUGS

Grant a systemic or group Presidential Clemency to a unique category of nonviolent federal inmates.  This group would be nonviolent drug offenders serving sentences of life without parole or de facto life without parole.

Model this clemency on the clemency granted by President Gerald Ford and President Jimmy Carter who gave clemency to those who had violated the Selective Service Act during the War in Viet Nam.  The War on Drugs has been an equally divisive war imprisoning a generation of men and women.

IT'S WRONG

Release Nonviolent Drug Offenders

Life for Pot

Where we've been, What We Found and Where We Must Go

LIFE FOR POT

As a result of the discussions on the web and also in print media about sentencing relief, various advocates for nonviolent drug offenders have come to the conclusion that nonviolent offenders who have received sentences of Life Without Parole should take two actions. 


1. If you filled out a survey for Clemency Project 2014 and have not been assigned an attorney,  file your own petition with the Pardon Attorney's Office.  If you are assigned a pro bono attorney at a later date, they will be able to obtain your filed petition and make appropriate adjustments.


2. If you are over the age of 65, file for sentencing relief using 18 USC  3582 (c)(1)(A)(i).  That is the procedure where time is reduced by motion of the BOP for extraordinary and compelling reasons.

       Life for Pot was originally and so far remains a site that features

  nonviolent marijuana inmates who have received the sentence of Life

  without Parole in the Federal system. 


        Today I'm giving a bow to Michelle Alexandera , author of

       The New Jim Crow, andEzikiel Edwards, Will Bunting and Lynda Garcia authors of the ACLU   

        Report, The War on Marijuana.


       I started Life for Pot in December of 2008 and put up the site in 2009.  The reason for this effort

       was because my brother had received  life without parole as a first time nonviolent marijuana  

       offender.  Of course his family could not believe that the sentence could stand.  We didn't  

       understand the criminal justice system.  He had been  indicted in 1994, imprisoned in1996, tried in

       2000.  His appeals were not completed till 2008 and that was when I needed to find out if others

       had received sentences of this magnitude.


When I started the site, a demographic began to appear.  I didn't know who I'd find sentenced to life without parole in the federal system.  I only knew I was looking for nonviolent marijuana offenders.  As they were found, it was clear that these individuals were almost without exception older white men. 


It was shocking, as I knew that young men of color are inordinately impacted by the tragic War on Drugs.  The web site Life for Pot looked like a cruel and biased visual trick to grab attention and sympathy for a privileged group of white men.  It was to a great extent the result of the narrow criteria I used which required that they have no violence in their case, no violent priors, and no other substance in their charges. 


I was gathering cowboys and characters from a different age and culture.  Their offenses took place before there were large grow operations in various states so they imported, although there were a couple of growers.  They had come of age in the 60s and 70s before the harsh sentencing that culminated in the 94 Crime Bill. All  the new  harsh sentencing was gradually enacted and then they were charged and prosecuted.


Of course I know that the vast majority of individuals arrested and/or incarcerated for marijuana are African American young men.  Why didn't I find any of them? 


Life without parole is a significantly hopeless sentence because without commutation or retroactive legislation for sentencing relief, these incarcerated people will die chained to a hospital bed.  When the ACLU released the report A Living Death - Life without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses - the inmates on Life for Pot were featured byJennifer Turner of the ACLU.


I had felt vaguely uneasy about what the site looked like and had for some time, but I couldn't go in another direction as the sentences of these unfortunate old men were so patently out of line with the offense.  This was especially true as marijuana legalization was creeping across the country. 


Next - an exciting concept -