Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Report Abuse   |   Sign In   |   Join NYSACDL
Community Search
Sign In


Latest News
Calendar
New York State Clemency Project
Share |

Volunteers Needed!
New York State Clemency Project

A partnership with New York State, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), 
Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), 
and the Foundation for Criminal Justice (FCJ).

NYSACDL has committed to taking 200 cases in this project.
Can you help us reach this number? 

Read more here: NYSACDL Commitment

Letter from NYSACDL Board of Director's Member Susan Walsh


On August 21, 2017, the NYSACDL announced its commitment to a major New York State clemency initiative, a program designed to help to recruit, train, and provide resource support to pro bono attorneys who will assist state prisoners to submit petitions to have their sentences commuted.

NYSACDL through our partners will recruit, train, and provide resource support to all pro bono attorneys who will assist state prisoners to submit petitions to have their sentences commuted. Support will include training materials, webinars with Q&A sessions, resource consultants, and reference materials. There are no specific disqualifying criteria, there will be no screening process and the Project will provide support to any volunteer lawyer who proposes to submit a petition on behalf of a client.

As members of NYSACDL this is our opportunity as the criminal bar association of the great state of New York to shine. Our members must set the bar, rise to the challenge and demonstrate not only the quality of our members but our commitment to our profession and people. There is no one more qualified and capable of drafting a New York criminal clemency petition than you: New Yorkers who practice criminal defense. This may be only a limited opportunity, but it is one that can raise the stature of Association, the visibility of the defense bar and help advance our advocacy on issues across the defense bar spectrum.


Under Governor Cuomo's initiative the crime of conviction will not be a determining factor in this effort in New York. Rather, the primary focus will be on making the case for the change in the applicant's life during his or her incarceration, including rehabilitation, and factors such as age, illness, disability, and any inequalities caused by further incarceration.

The New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision is a key partner in this effort. It has prepared an initial packet of records for each Applicant. This packet contains the Applicant’s criminal history, prison conduct, and other records. This will allow you to begin reviewing the Applicant’s case immediately. Moreover, pre-sentence reports will be readily available through protocols agreed on by the Project and New York. All attorneys admitted to the New York Bar are eligible to be assigned a case. Non-New York attorneys are invited to work with a New York attorney on a case.

This project is the quintessential opportunity to demonstrate our service to this Association in its commitment to justice, fairness and reform. That is why the Officers pledge to each submit each one clemency petition in this effort. It is our goal that the organization collectively take 200 cases. We hope you will join us in our commitment to our clients, our association and our community. Take a case. Register here https://stateclemency.org/training.


The Only Sweeter Words in a Defense Lawyer's
Lexicon than Not Guilty may be....

You are going home.

Imagine saying those words to someone who has spent years in prison. Imagine giving the gift of freedom and a second chance to a prisoner who is rehabilitated and has demonstrated a readiness to return to the community. By representing a single clemency applicant, you can help reverse the misfortune of a generation. This is your chance to make that call to a deserving prisoner in New York.

The New York State Clemency initiative supported by NYSACDL, in partnership with NACDL and others, is the opportunity of a defense lawyer's career to help salvage the lives of defendants and families who have left behind by a guilty verdict or plea. This effort is about the clients and cases that keep us up at night; the tales of courtroom heartache we share with each other.

NYSACDL has partnered with volunteer attorneys from several bar groups, but you - our membership of criminal defense practitioners - are uniquely positioned to assist in this effort. You bring expertise, experience, and excellence in criminal defense. And, through its collaboration with its partners,. NYSACDL will facilitate your work. The State Clemency Project will recruit, train, and provide resource support to all pro bono attorneys who will assist state prisoners to submit petitions to have their sentences commuted. Support includes training materials, webinars with Q&A sessions, resource consultants, model petitions, and reference materials.

Under Governor Cuomo's initiative the crime of conviction is not a determinative factor. Rather, the primary focus will be on making the case for the change in the applicant's life during his or her incarceration, including rehabilitation, and factors such as age, illness, disability, and any inequalities caused by further incarceration. Underlying mitigation and fundamental inequity in the original case may also be considered.

This is a unique opportunity for criminal defense lawyers to help undo the incalculable harm of harsh and irrational sentencing policies by giving deserving prisoners a chance to regain their freedom. The first application you draft is the hardest ... but it is a remarkable opportunity to let loose with creative advocacy for a human being, unconstrained or inhibited by courtroom barriers. Join me in demonstrating the compassion and commitment we know NYSACDL members and our New York criminal defense community brings to the profession.

As a past volunteer working under Obama's clemency initiative, I can tell you that I have never had such a personally rewarding professional experience than the calls I made to people in jail who believed they were serving a life sentence and tell them: "You are going home."

Take a case and take a second chance at changing a life.

Click https://stateclemency.org/training and sign up.

Susan J. Walsh, Vladeck Raskin & Clark, PC
NYSACDL Board of Directors