In the past week, President Obama granted clemency to 231 individuals in federal prison. One of those was not Leonard Peltier, and that is something Eaton & Van Winkle partner Martin Garbus is working to rectify.
Mr. Garbus wrote a column in The Guardian this past week making the case for why the outgoing president should pardon Mr. Peltier of his conviction in a 1975 murder case.
In 1975, Mr. Peltier, was attempting to help protect people in the Native American family Oglala Lakota after violence had broken out two years earlier at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. The tragic deaths of FBI agents Jack Soler and Ronald Williams resulted. The clemency petition for Mr. Peltier lays forth the case that Mr. Peltier was wrongly charged, wrongly convicted and simply wants to live out the rest of his life at home in North Dakota.
“The injustices that contributed to Peltier’s conviction are not subject to credible dispute…Mr Peltier is old, ill and a threat to no one. The petition seeks his release in the interests of justice and reconciliation and is supported by Nobel Peace Prize laureates, humanitarians and scholars.”
Mr. Garbus is the attorney for Mr. Peltier and seeks to remind all concerned that if clemency is not granted prior to President Obama’s return to private life on January 20, that it will be a de facto death sentence for Mr. Peltier, who is next eligible for parole in 2024 and whose health is failing.
Mr. Garbus’ column can be read in its entirety here.