News Release

NACDL/FAMM State Clemency Project Welcomes Handful of Clemency Grants and Expresses Disappointment in Four Years of Missed Opportunities by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

Washington, DC (Aug. 18, 2021) – Yesterday evening, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo granted clemency to ten individuals. Five of the grantees had their sentences commuted, and five were pardoned. One of the recipients of a commutation was Nehru Gumbs, whose petition was supported by the NACDL/FAMM State Clemency Project.

The Project issued the following statement: "We congratulate Mr. Gumbs, his counsel, and all of the recipients of clemency. And we express the deepest appreciation to the hundreds of volunteers who have worked through the NACDL/FAMM State Clemency Project to secure commutations for deserving individuals. That said, the Project is extremely disappointed that, this is the best that Governor Cuomo was able do, particularly as the bar mobilized at the Governor’s request to take on hundreds of cases pro bono. The sad result of the Governor’s failure to act on these petitions is that individuals seeking a second chance will instead continue to languish in New York State prisons."

The NACDL/FAMM State Clemency Project, which is supported by the NACDL Foundation for Criminal Justice (NFCJ), was announced in August of 2017 to recruit, train, and provide resource support to pro bono attorneys to assist state prisoners to submit petitions to have their sentences commuted. In 2017, Governor Andrew Cuomo, who called upon the bar to volunteer to help bring worthy cases to his attention, announced the partnership with the NACDL/FAMM State Clemency Project. Four years later, of more than 120 petitions submitted through the Project, Governor Cuomo has granted only five, though a number of applicants ultimately secured parole while their petitions were pending.

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Ivan Dominguez, NACDL Senior Director of Public Affairs and Communications, (202) 465-7662 or

FAMM is a national nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice policies that safeguard taxpayer dollars and keep our communities safe. Founded in 1991, FAMM is helping transform America’s criminal justice system by uniting the voices of impacted families and individuals and elevating the issues all across the country.

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.

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