Mocobizscene- A Harlem rapper, who surrendered himself to authorities 17 years later for a fatal shooting that occurred during a failed robbery he committed in his youth, may soon be granted release from prison.
Governor Kathy Hochul made an announcement on Friday, revealing that she has granted executive clemency to Trevell Coleman, also known as the rapper G-Dep, as well as fifteen other individuals. This act of clemency brings a sense of goodness just in time for the holidays to a small percentage of those who have been convicted of crimes in New York.
Hochul has taken action to commute the sentences of four individuals, allowing them to be released from prison ahead of schedule. Additionally, she has granted pardons to twelve individuals who are no longer in prison, offering relief to those who may have faced the risk of deportation, including several non-U.S. citizens.
Here are some individuals who were granted amnesty:
- Vitaliy Dorum, 41, pardoned for drug possession convictions from 2004. He immigrated to the U.S. as a teen and is not a naturalized citizen.
- Donnell Reed, 55, a military veteran pardoned for a 1991 drug possession conviction.
- Alexander Dockery, 54, whose 25-years-to-life sentence for burglary and trespassing charges was commuted. The governor’s office said he has already served nearly 23 years for breaking into unoccupied apartments, where no one was harmed.
- Eric Davidson, 54, who will get an expedited date before the parole board for burglary and stolen property charges.
- Michael Young, 64, who will also get an early chance to go before the parole board after serving more than 20 years for robbery and attempted robbery convictions. He otherwise wouldn’t have been eligible for parole until 2041, when he would be more than 80 years old.
- Coleman, who will also be allowed to ask for parole before he would have otherwise been eligible.
In the cases of Davidson, Young, and Coleman, the governor has not made any guarantees of reducing their sentences. Instead, she has entrusted the parole board to determine whether they should be released from prison before their scheduled time.
According to Gothamist, as of December, there were approximately 1,600 New Yorkers eagerly awaiting decisions on their clemency applications, as confirmed by Maggie Halley, spokesperson for Hochul.
Since assuming office, Hochul has demonstrated her commitment to granting clemency by pardoning or commuting the sentences of 59 individuals. In April, she took action for seven individuals, and in September, she extended clemency to 13 more. Hochul has made it clear that she intends to continue granting clemency regularly, and she has also taken steps to enhance the transparency of the process.
Advocates have urged the governor to exercise her clemency powers more frequently, particularly for individuals who are currently serving long prison terms.
Hochul pledged in a statement to persistently strive towards optimizing the process to best serve the people of New York.
“As Governor, it is my solemn duty to acknowledge the strides individuals have made in bettering their lives and to demonstrate that redemption is indeed attainable,” she stated, emphasizing the significance of the clemency process.
Coleman’s unique bid for clemency
After a struggle lasting almost 20 years, law enforcement authorities were unable to crack the case. In the meantime, Coleman’s career in the rap industry soared as he gained prominence in Harlem’s music scene. His attorney revealed that he secured a lucrative record deal worth $350,000 with Bad Boy Entertainment.
The shooting continued to haunt him, and in 2010, Coleman decided to share his recollection of that fateful night with the police. His account matched up with an unsolved homicide case in the precinct’s log book, leading to his subsequent arrest and charges by the prosecutors.
Coleman received a conviction for second-degree murder back in 2012. Both the jury foreman and the prosecutor pleaded for mercy, leading Judge Michael J. Obus to hand down the minimum sentence of 15 years to life in prison.
The prosecutor who handled Coleman’s case and the judge who handed down his sentence have both advocated for his release, as previously reported by Gothamist.
Assistant District Attorney David Drucker wrote in a letter submitted to Coleman’s clemency application that there is no doubt about Mr. Coleman’s genuine remorse. He stated that it is as genuine as he and others he has spoken to have ever witnessed.
Retired Judge Obus, with over three decades on the bench, expressed his unprecedented request for clemency to a governor. In a remarkable turn of events, he passionately advocated for the release of Coleman, firmly believing it to be the morally just choice.
According to Rob Henkel, the brother of Henkel, he believes that the governor should be held accountable and potentially removed from office if she allows Coleman to be released from prison before serving his full sentence.
“He should serve his entire sentence,” he previously stated to Gothamist. “He has fulfilled his obligations and deserves to complete his time.”
According to Coleman’s attorney, Steve Zeidman, his client is fully aware of the irreversible damage he has caused. Zeidman, the head of CUNY Law School’s criminal defense clinic, explained that the reason he turned himself in and has taken all necessary steps to make amends and seek redemption.
Zeidman expressed optimism that the parole board will grant Coleman’s release, as they have done previously when governors have utilized their clemency authority to allow individuals to seek early parole. Additionally, he expressed his hope that the governor will extend clemency to a greater number of individuals who have served lengthy sentences and demonstrated remorse for their crimes, including those convicted of homicide.
According to Zeidman, Trevell is aware that he is not the only one who has caused significant harm. He acknowledges that there are numerous individuals who have made sincere efforts to improve themselves and make up for their past actions.
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