News Release

As Thanksgiving Approaches, President Obama Announces 79 New Clemency Grants; Total Grants Surpass 1,000

Washington, DC (Nov. 22, 2016) – After commuting the sentences of 72 prisoners earlier this month, President Obama today commuted the sentences of 79 more prisoners. Of today's 79 grants, 54 were in cases supported by Clemency Project 2014. That brings the total number of commutations granted by President Obama to date to 1,023, of which 523 were supported by Clemency Project 2014.

"With more than 1,000 grants of clemency, President Obama has ensured that 1,000 families will sit at a dinner table this week or in the not-too-distant future and give thanks together," said Cynthia W. Roseberry, project manager for Clemency Project 2014. "More than half of these applicants and their families were helped by the dedicated lawyers and staff of Clemency Project 2014. We include today's grants in our list of things for which we give thanks."

Clemency Project 2014, an unprecedented, wholly independent effort by the nation's bar, has recruited and trained nearly 4,000 volunteer lawyers from diverse practice backgrounds and completed screening of over 35,000 of the more than 36,000 federal prisoners who have requested volunteer assistance. The Project's painstaking review of these cases revealed that the overwhelming majority of those requests were by applicants who did not meet the criteria put forward by the Department of Justice in April 2014. To date, Clemency Project 2014 has submitted more than 2,400 petitions to the Office of the Pardon Attorney.

The American Bar Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, the Federal Public and Community Defenders, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers have joined together under a working group they call Clemency Project 2014. Through the efforts of Clemency Project 2014, the participating organizations are identifying potential clemency petitioners and recruiting and training volunteer lawyers to assist them in securing clemency. 

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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.