Clemency

It’s been over a month since I submitted my request for clemency to the commanding General.

This clemency request is the final phase of my trial – a trial that started eleven months ago. I cannot start my appeals process until I hear back from the Generals’ office.

I got word yesterday that I had an attorney call scheduled for today. I figured I’d get word about my clemency and I did. It was hard to not get excited anticipating that phone call…at the prospect of clemency. I knew the odds of clemency were low…but I suppose I did get my hopes up a bit because I’m pretty bummed out.

The phone call only took about two minutes. I guess bad news doesn’t take that long. The General upheld my full sentence. I’ll be here for the next year at a minimum at which point I’ll be eligible for parole. The odds of getting parole are slightly better…but still not great.

This also means that my appeals process can start. Appeals can take years and to begin I essentially have to admit guilt. Can you wrap your mind around that? Here, let’s see if I can make it clear: I pleaded innocent and got a six year sentence when the judge found me guilty. If I would have pleaded guilty, I likely would have been kicked out of the Army and served a minimal amount of time behind bars – perhaps a few months. But I wanted to maintain my innocence – I am, after all, innocent (something you NEVER hear from a convict, right?). Now, if I want to get out of prison before my son graduates high school I’m going to have to admit guilt during my appeal process. I really wish someone would have explained all this to me before I saddled up my high horse. Lesson learned: when dealing with the law, one must thing strategically, not emotionally.

It’s hard to imagine being locked in a cell until you are. Consequently, its hard to fight it with the appropriate amount of vigor. It was also hard to imagine that the justice system would find me guilty, though if I would have looked at the statistics back then, I would have found I had a far greater chance of being convicted than acquitted. Even so, my prideful, naive self may have though the system would work in my case and I would be found innocent.

As they say…Pride goeth. Perhaps if I would have been able to let go of my pride before my trial, I wouldn’t be pissing in a modified water fountain these days.

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2 thoughts on “Clemency

  1. RL, you really ought to try and summarize his case/predicament and see if some outlet (i.e. Army Times, Rolling Stone) would publish. Besides being a great opportunity for some investigative reporting, the exposure might help restore some sense of justice.

  2. Now that Russ’s clemency process is complete and his trial is officially over, I think a summary is a good idea. I need to run it by him first, though. Hopefully some clarity is forthcoming!

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