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Relieve Five Elderly Federal Prisoners From Life Without Parole Sentences For Weed


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A petition for Group Clemency and Commutation of Sentence is being filed with President Obama on behalf of John Knock, Paul Free, William Dekle, Larry Duke and Charles Cundiff. All five of us have been convicted of marijuana offenses, and, there was no violence involved. All are serving sentences of Life without Parole and all appeals have been exhausted. Each of us have been in prison for at least fifteen years, the average being nineteen years, and, each of us is at least 60 years old and we all have health issues which make incarceration increasingly expensive.

We have all been model prisoners and have participated in prison programs designed to improve ourselves and our fellow prisoners. We have taught some men to read and helped others to obtain their high school diplomas.

Circumstances have changed in the past few decades in American law, society and governance which make these life-without-parole sentences unjustifiable. For example, eighteen states plus the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana and recently the states of Washington and Colorado legalized the recreational possession of marijuana which will treat it like alcohol. According to the latest Gallop poll, more than 50% of our citizenry have come to believe that marijuana should be legalized. Marijuana has wrongly been held a Schedule-I Controlled Substance by the Federal Government. Every year as many as 1300 people die from aspirin. In the past 5,000 years of recorded history, not one single death has been attributed to marijuana.

President Washington granted clemency to members of the Whiskey Rebellion, Jefferson to all violators of the Alien and Sedition Act, Madison to the Lafitte pirates after the War of 1812. President Lincoln granted group pardons to 264 of 303 Dakota Indians who attacked settlers in the Great Sioux uprising of 1862 and over 100 other men. President Johnson granted clemency to the confederate soldiers, President Harrison to all members of the Church of Latter Day Saints who violated laws against polygamous or plural marriage. President Roosevelt granted it to participants in the Philippine insurrection. President Harding granted clemency to persons jailed under WW-I sedition and espionage laws. President John F. Kennedy pardoned all first-time drug offenders who were not eligible for parole and who were convicted under the mandatory minimum sentences of the Narcotics control Act of 1956. President Ford granted clemency to Vietnam-era violators of the Service Act. President Carter granted it to violators of the Selective Service Act and President George Bush granted clemency to seven Iran Contra participants. President Clinton granted it to FLAN members.

None of the sentencing judges had any discretion to sentence us to any terms less than Life Without Parole due to the mandatory minimum sentencing scheme created in the early 90's even though many expressed their disagreement with the scheme and a desire not to have to follow it because of the sentence and its relation to the crime committed.

The average time in prison for murder in this country is 12 years and 4 months. None of us would pose a threat to society, and, each of us will die in prison without the exercise of Presidential clemency.

I ask that you consider writing letters to President Obama and your representatives in Congress asking that they support the Petition and ask your friends and family to do the same.

Please see link below —

White House Petition Support:

Thank you,

Paul Free (42235198)
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