In what is typically a politically risky move, six state governors recently granted pardons and commutations to hundreds of current and former prisoners. In California, Indiana, Kentucky, New York, Arkansas and Vermont, more than 500 pardons were granted along with another 20 commutations or grants of clemency. In January 2017, outgoing Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin…

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By Christopher Zoukis Four former U.S. Navy veterans wrongly convicted of the rape and murder of an 18-year-old woman have been granted full pardons by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. Eric Wilson, Danial Williams, Derek Tice and Joseph Dick, Jr., known as the “Norfolk Four,” were arrested for raping and killing Michelle Moore-Bosko in 1997. Based…

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By Prison Legal News

Everyone in Virginia’s criminal justice system knew that Johnathan Christopher Montgomery was innocent of the crimes for which he’d been convicted.

His accuser had recanted her testimony and admitted she lied to police about being molested by Montgomery more than a dozen years earlier. And yet the state continued to deny him his freedom until an advocacy organization for the wrongly convicted petitioned for his release.

Finally, on November 20, 2012, more than four years after he was sent to prison for aggravated sexual battery and lesser charges – and two days before Thanksgiving –Montgomery was conditionally pardoned by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and walked out of the Greensville Correctional Center.

“The truth sets you free,” Montgomery told reporters outside the facility.

His accuser, Elizabeth Paige Coast, had told police that Montgomery sexually abused her in 2000 when she was 10 years old and he was 14 and lived across the street from Coast’s grandmother in Hampton. Coast invented the story, she reportedly told investigators, because she was embarrassed and panicked when her parents caught her looking at pornographic websites.

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By Jean Trounstine MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry tried to take a humorous approach to the unforgiving times we live in with her letter to a turkey last week, where she asked President Obama to pardon people—not turkeys. Pardon, the act of forgiving someone’s crime, has nearly dried up in the U.S. Of people who petitioned during…

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