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1 Lester W.

Hall
3750 E. Via Palomita, Unit 21202
2 Tucson, AZ 85718
520-303-0996
3 lesterwhall@comcast.net

4 Re: Recommendation of Commutation on behalf of


Richard T. Mariano, Petitioner
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Inmate number: 60043-66
6 F.C.I. Fort Dix
P.O. Box 2000
7 Fort Dix, NJ 08640

8 For presentation to the:

9 United States Department of Justice


Office of the Attorney of Pardons
10 Ronald L. Rodgers, Pardon Attorney
1425 New York Avenue, N.W.
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Suite 11000
Washington, D.C. 20530
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Contact: Brenda McElroy
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I, Lester W. Hall, am respectfully submitting the following recommendation of commutation on
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behalf of Richard T. Mariano, pursuant to the Rules of the Constitution of the United States and the
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President’s authority to commute or reduce a sentence imposed upon a conviction of a federal offense as
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follows;
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Commutation Criteria Met
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1. Petitioner was convicted of a federal crime p. 2
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2. Petitioner requests reduction of sentence only p. 2, 3
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3. Petitioner has completed all court challenges p. 3
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4. Equitable factors supporting Petitioner’s request for commutation
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a) Severity of sentence p. 4, 5
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b) Illness and age p. 5, 6
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c) Meritorious service during incarceration p. 6, 7
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d) Time served and availability of other remedies p. 7, 8
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1 1. Petitioner was convicted of a federal crime

2 On Monday, August 7, 2006, former Philadelphia City Councilman Richard T. Mariano entered the

3 Federal Correctional Institution in Fort Dix, New Jersey. He was convicted of federal bribery and
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corruption charges and sentenced to 6 ½ years to be released March 24, 2012. To date the Petitioner has
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completed almost one third of that sentence. Having done so satisfies the United States Attorney’s
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requirement that a Petitioner must have begun serving their sentence before a commutation would even be
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considered. Since the President’s authority to commute a sentence applies only to federal offenses, the
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Petitioner meets that criteria.
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2. Petitioner requests reduction of sentence only
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Pursuant to the United States Attorney's Manual Standards for Consideration of Clemency
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13 Petitions, Section 1-2.113 Standards for Considering Commutation Petitions, Petitioner acknowledges

14 that a commutation only reduces the period of incarceration and does not imply forgiveness of the offense.

15 The Petitioner has been forthright since his conviction in his admission of guilt. He has on innumerable

16 occasions admitted both publicly and privately his responsibility for his conduct and has shown remorse for

17 his actions. He seeks forgiveness but does not expect to be vindicated. He has confirmed in many
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newspaper articles and interviews that he assumes the blame for his actions and has detailed in his
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resignation letter to the Philadelphia City Council, on May 1, 2006, his deep regret for his behavior. It reads;
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President Verna, Council member’s and Friends:
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This letter is my official resignation from this Honorable body effective end of the business day
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May 1, 2006. I want to first express my sincere apology for the dishonor I have brought on
24 this legislative body. It was the last thing I intended and I couldn’t be more regretful. My ten

25 years [1995-2006 added for emphasis] as a council member will always be special to me. I

26 enjoyed my work on behalf of the people of my district and this great city. I also expressly

27 apologize to the people of the 7th councilmatic district. I violated their trust and I am truly

28 sorry. I would be remiss if I did not thank my staff, the council technical staff and many in

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this government including its departments and agencies for their help over the years. I could
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not have done my job without their support.
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Lately, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on my life and the circumstances which brought
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me to this place at this time. Like many other troubled people, I have turned to God in search
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of some measure of peace and understanding. I take great comfort in my new found
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knowledge of God’s love and promise of hope for people like me who have made terrible
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mistakes. I thank Father Tom Higgins and Pastor Dave Scudder who have helped guide me
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through these difficult times. I have come to understand that tough experiences often contain
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important lessons of life for those who find the humility to learn. I take full responsibility for
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my actions. I will face the circumstances of such actions and I am looking forward to
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reordering my life in a constructive way. I am grateful for having had the opportunity to
11 serve. I look forward to hearing good things about this Council’s work and the progress of our

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13 Please keep Susan and our entire family (Rick, Vincent, Patrick) and Susan’s mother Elizabeth,

14 in your prayers.

15 Sincerely,

16 Richard T. Mariano

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18 In addition, Petitioner has privately written to Council President Anna C. Verna, former Mayor

19 John Street and current Mayor Michael Nutter as well as other council members. In an interview with

20 Channel Six Action News in 2006 he stated, “When you’re in [here] you see people that never had a chance in
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life. I had a chance, I messed it up…”
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23 3. Petitioner has completed all court challenges

24 On Friday, June 20, 2008, the US Court of Appeals upheld the conviction and sentence of the

25 Petitioner. In compliance with the Rules Governing Petitions for Executive Clemency § 1.3, all of his

26 judicial or administrative relief recourse has been exhausted. As such, Petitioner meets the criteria to wait

27 for all appeals to be exhausted before to filing a petition for commutation.

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4. Equitable factors supporting Petitioner’s request for commutation
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a) Severity of Sentence
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The severity of his sentence was addressed by the Petitioner in his appeal to the U.S. Court of
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4 Appeals, with respect to the argument that errors were committed in the calculation of the sentencing

5 guidelines.

6 Since the creation of the United States Sentencing Commission Guidelines in 1987, many have

7 called for reforms to the Guidelines, as they can be inconsistent and disproportionate because of the

8 complexity and intricacy of calculating them. Completing the guideline worksheets has even been
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compared to the daunting task of completing federal income tax forms. While this system has been in
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effect for over twenty years, there is presently a movement toward a reconsideration of this method in its
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fairness and effectiveness. The United States Sentencing Commission hosted a Symposium on Crime and
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Punishment in the United States: Alternatives to Incarceration on July 14-15, 2008, on Capitol Hill in
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Washington, D.C. The symposium focused on various sentencing options available within the federal and
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state systems, including the use of sentencing alternatives in combination with and/or in lieu of
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imprisonment. Representatives including federal judges, congressional staff, professors of law, corrections
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officials, federal prosecutors, public defenders and alternative sentencing practitioners participated to
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address important topics such as;

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* drug courts and treatment options for certain offenders
20 * alternative sentencing options in the federal and state systems
* restorative justice-based programs
21 * prison programs resulting in reduced sentences
* the Second Chance Act and re-entry issues
22 * collateral consequences of convictions

23 In further support, the recent passage by Senate and Congress and the signing by President Bush of
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the Second Chance Act of 2007, on April 9, 2008, created federal legislation designed to ensure the safe
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and successful return of prisoners to the community. This act provided transitional assistance to assist ex-
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offenders in coping with challenges of reentry. Its purpose was to reduce recidivism, help reunite families,
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protect communities and save taxpayer dollars. It also allows for early release of inmates who meet special
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criteria of age, non-violent offense or sex crime and length of sentence completed. This pilot program is
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scheduled to begin October 1, 2008. Since there is presently no parole in the federal system, a bill before
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3 the House , H.R. 3072 - A BILL TO REVIVE THE SYSTEM OF PAROLE FOR FEDERAL PRISONERS, seeks

4 to reinstate the old law system of parole and good time laws which would reduce the inmate population

5 considerably and correct the disparities that exist in unnecessary long term sentences for non-violent

6 offenders.

7 Clearly these initiatives point to a common purpose, the serious reconsideration of the present
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guideline sentencing program, prison overcrowding and the alternatives to correcting the disparities that
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exist in the system.
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To demonstrate the disparity of the Petitioner’s sentence, a review of former Philadelphia and area
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politicians involving breach of public trust convictions is reasonable. These crimes occurred both before
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and after the guidelines were implemented in 1987.
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In 1978 Senator Buddy Cianfrani was sentenced to 5 years for bribery, mail fraud and tax evasion
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and he served a little over 2 years and Traffic Court Judge Louis Vignola served 2 years for bribery and was
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released in 1981. For their parts in the ABSCAM conspiracy, the FBI operation targeting public corruption
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17 and organized crime in the 1980’s, both City Council President George X Schwartz and City Councilman

18 Harry P. Jannotti served less than 2 years. Congressman Michael Myers who was sentenced to 3 years

19 served 20 1/2 months and NJ Senator Harrison “Pete” Williams was sentenced and served 3 years. More

20 strikingly, Councilman Jimmy Tayoun who was convicted of bribery in 1991 under the current guidelines,

21 for tax evasion, racketeering, mail fraud and obstruction of justice only served a little over 3 years.

22 While these convictions were not proud moments in Philadelphia politics, they do demonstrate
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that the Petitioner’s sentence of 6 ½ years is excessive and severe. He is a non-violent, first time offender
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who poses no safety threat to the public if released early.
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b) Illness and age
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The Petitioner is 53 years old and suffers from numerous medical conditions. He has been
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diagnosed with degenerative osteoarthritis in both of his knees. He has had two operations on them since
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his incarceration, yet he remains in constant pain. He has problems standing, kneeling, climbing stairs and
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ladders and walking for periods of over ten minutes. A surgeon diagnosed on July 24, 2008 that he would
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need knee replacements. He has been told that he will not receive replacement surgery while incarcerated.
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He has bone spurs in both feet, which add to his difficulty in walking, and standing and his ankles swell as a
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side effect. He has sleep apnea, which causes him to stop breathing while sleeping. He was given a
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10 prescribed C-PAP machine to allow him to breathe properly but it has been broken for 5 months and he is

11 in need of a new mask as it is 2 years old and should be replaced at least yearly for sanitation and

12 effectiveness. Additionally, the Petitioner has Type2 diabetes, which is managed with daily medication.

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Presently, it costs American taxpayers approximately $22,000 to keep a federal inmate locked up for
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one year. According to the National Institute of Corrections, the cost to house older inmates is twice that
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of younger inmates because of increased medical costs. H.R. 3072 - A BILL TO REVIVE THE SYSTEM OF

17 PAROLE FOR FEDERAL PRISONERS , seeks to address the problem that inmates do not get the same health

18 care as they can request on the outside. Lengthy non-paroleable sentences cause medical emergencies

19 within the facilities and huge indigent health costs when inmates are finally released. It is the Petitioners

20 goal to return to his former employment as an electrician upon release and to obtain proper healthcare

21 insurance to pay for these critical operations.


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23 With regard to age, a 2002 study by The Bureau of Prisons found that older inmates are less likely

24 to recidivate upon release. Their medical health is a contributing factor, however, other factors include;

25 their initiatives to find and stay employed, their living with a spouse upon release and their acceptance of

26 transition initiatives that assist them in their re-entry into the community. The Petitioner’s Release Plan

27 includes all of these provisions. For these reasons, the Petitioner feels that his conditions could be better
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addressed outside of prison because the overcrowding and the inability to provide the necessary treatment
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compound the severity of his conditions.
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c) Meritorious service during incarceration
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5 In accordance with the Bureau of Prisons policy which requires that every medically able inmate

6 be assigned to a work program and perform work activities that contribute to the operation of the
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institution, the Petitioner has complied despite his painful medical conditions. Utilizing his skills as an
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electrician, he worked to design and build the electrical system, electronically controlled, for a state-of-the-
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art hydroponic greenhouse where tomatoes are grown for prison use. Besides providing jobs for inmates,
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the greenhouse also yields over 700 lbs. of tomatoes per week, enough to feed the entire population of the
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4000+ prisoners. Additionally, he participates in other occupational programs voluntarily, including, his
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work as a mail orderly and as a hazardous human waste orderly. Through his work commitments he
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complies with the Bureau of Prison’s initiatives seeking to reduce inmate idleness, improve or develop
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useful job skills and work habits and assist an inmate in finding employment upon release into the
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community.

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He has demonstrated excellent post-conviction conduct. His work reports and behavior have been
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exemplary despite his constant medical distractions. In all fairness, the Petitioner could have pursued a
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claim for relief against participation in the prison’s industries program because of his disabilities, but he did
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not. Instead, he made a conscious decision to use his time to contribute to the operation and maintenance
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of the prison and to show his contrition and remorse for his actions.

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His contributions to the outside community while incarcerated have been limited because of
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access. However, his wife and family are foremost on his mind and he helps as much as he is able through
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communications and encouragement. He writes regularly to anyone who writes to him and he encourages
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those who are still angry with him to write as well. He has stated, “Give them my address. Also tell them
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that I am a child of the Most High God and I am sorry if I ever did anything wrong to them. I am sorry. I just
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want to pay my debt to society and I am repentful for my past deeds.”
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d) Time served and availability of other remedies
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5 The Petitioner has successfully completed two years of his sentence. In accordance with the

6 Bureau of Prison’s philosophy that release preparation begins the first day of incarceration, he has been
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consistently working at his Release Plan since his entry. He understands how critical it is in increasing his
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chances for a successful integration back into society. In establishing his plan, he has set goals of returning
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to his former trade as an electrician, reuniting with his family, addressing his physical problems and
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avoiding his old behavior by drawing on his rekindled faith in God. In order to meet his requirements of
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community supervision, upon release he will enter a halfway house and comply with his parole
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requirements. He is fully aware of and willingly agrees to all monitoring that would accompany an early
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release.
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Some of the programs that currently are being implemented and reviewed by the prison
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community as non-incarceration alternatives are probation, day reporting centers, community service
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programs and restitution programs. As a non-violent offender, he would welcome placement in any of
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these non-custodial alternatives.
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Finally, lengthy sentences have an inordinate impact on inmates’ families, particularly on children
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who must be raised in broken families. With the loss of a wage earner, inmates’ families are suddenly forced
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into a crisis of providing for all of their needs at a time when their grief and confusion are at their highest.
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24 The Petitioner understands that he will always be left with the mark of a lifelong felony conviction.

25 The Petitioner accepts that as an inevitable outcome of his actions. He does not wish to “erase his
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conviction” by asking for a full pardon. He only seeks a reduction of the sentence. Accepting the
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consequences of his behavior his desires now are to reunite with his family, to use his experience to share
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his faith in Jesus Christ and how he feels He has saved him and to help other prisoners and their families.

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Dated this 11th day of August, 2008
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Lester W. Hall
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