The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
As the President during such a crucial time in our nation’s history, it appears you understand the urgency for the acceptance of equality and social justice into our nation’s society. I believe that granting Executive Clemency to Leonard Peltier is the right step in the direction in proving that, “yes, we can.” If you do truly understand the need for change in our country, you will agree with me.
I believe Peltier was wrongfully convicted for the 1975 shooting deaths of two agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. U.S. prosecutors have repeatedly admitted that they did not and cannot prove Peltier's guilt and the appellate courts have cited numerous instances of investigative and prosecutorial misconduct in this case. As late as November 2003, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals acknowledged that "…Much of the government’s behavior at the Pine Ridge Reservation and its prosecution of Leonard Peltier should be condemned. The government withheld evidence. It intimidated witnesses. These facts are not disputed."
The courts claim they lack the power to right this wrong but, as President, you can.
In this case, I believe your concern should not only be for judicial honesty and decency, but for equal treatment for all citizens. From the time of Peltier's conviction until the mid-1990s, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the average length of imprisonment served for homicide in the United States ranged from 94 to 99.8 months. Even if you were to take Peltier's two consecutive life sentences into account at the higher end of this range, it is clear that Peltier should have been released a very long time ago. Personalized and politically motivated vengeance of this kind cannot be tolerated. The concepts of justice and good government require that you act to correct this wrong.
Leonard Peltier is over 60 years old and his health is deteriorating. He has suffered a stroke which left him partially blind in one eye. For many years, Peltier had a seriously debilitating jaw condition which left him unable to chew properly and caused constant pain and headaches. Today, Leonard Peltier continues to suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, and a heart condition. He risks blindness, kidney failure, stroke, and certainly premature death given his diet, living conditions, and health care.
There are a people of this great nation that deserve to be heard. The continued imprisonment of Leonard Peltier is yet one more way in which they have been silenced. I am not asking you to give aide to this extremely impoverished minority, many of whom live in third-world conditions and have a much lower life expectancy rate than the rest of our nation: a nation they too have fought to defend. No, I am not asking you to go as far as to address these issues. Instead, I simply ask that you grant an innocent man his freedom which, in turn, will give so much hope to a decimated people.
Mr. President, do the right thing, grant Executive Clemency to Leonard Peltier right away. Thank you for giving fair consideration to Leonard Peltier.
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