Clarence Aaron’s Mother, Former OPA Attorney Speak Out

FAMM, dozens of groups call for congressional investigation

WHAT: On Thursday, May 24, 2012, at 10:00 a.m., FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Minimums) will host “Clemency: Hit or Miss Justice,” a panel discussion that will delve into the latest disturbing investigative article from ProPublica and The Washington Post about the Office of the Pardon Attorney’s (OPA) mishandling of federal prisoners’ requests for sentence commutations.

ProPublica has documented how the Pardon Attorney’s office misrepresented the facts in Clarence Aaron’s commutation request to the President and has contributed to a racial imbalance among pardon recipients. ProPublica senior reporter Dafna Linzer found that although the Department of Justice has received thousands of clemency requests – close to 6,000 during the Obama Administration – commutations are virtually never granted.  In the past 12 years, only 12 commutations have been granted – just one by President Obama.

In light of these findings, FAMM is calling for a Congressional investigation of OPA to get to the bottom of how clemency requests are handled and why so few are approved.

Confirmed speakers include:

  • Linda Aaron, mother of federal prisoner Clarence Aaron, a first-time, nonviolent drug offender serving three life sentences, without parole;
  • Debi Campbell, a former model federal prisoner who served her entire 17-year sentence after her multiple commutation petitions were denied;
  • Derrick Curry, a former federal prisoner who served 7 years of a 19-year, 7-month sentence before receiving a commutation from President Bill Clinton in 2001;
  • Dafna Linzer, senior reporter and author of the ProPublica articles;
  • Sam Morison, served for 13 years as a staff attorney in the Office of the Pardon Attorney;
  • Molly Gill, FAMM director of special projects.

WHERE: The National Press Club, 529 14th St. N.W., Zenger Room, Washington, D.C. 20045.

WHEN: Thursday, May 24, 2012. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m.; event is 10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

HOW FAMM CAN HELP YOU COVER THIS STORY: Please contact Monica Pratt Raffanel at (202) 822-6700 or to arrange interviews with the speakers.

Families Against Mandatory Minimums is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that supports fair and proportionate sentencing laws that allow judicial discretion while maintaining public safety. For more information, visit


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FAMM is a national, nonprofit organization working for fair and proportionate sentencing laws.