Former US attorney calls for clemency for Leonard Peltier

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Leonard Peltier
Leonard Peltier mural on a Mission District storefront. Photo by Gary Stevens photo. Creative Commons/attribution from Flikr.

One of Florida’s most famous prisoners is hoping President Barack Obama will grant him clemency before leaving office; Native American activist Leonard Peltier was convicted of killing two FBI agents during a 1975 shootout, but has maintained his innocence for four decades. Now, a former U.S. attorney has written a letter supporting clemency for Peltier. James Reynolds now lives in Naples, Florida, but decades ago supervised the legal team for the government while Peltier appeal appealed his sentence.

Letter from lawyer for clemency for Leonard Peltier“I just thought that it was time. With all the circumstances that have gone down, both good and bad, it was maybe time for the president to grant clemency and to end the justice part of the case.”

Is this making a statement at all about his guilt or innocence or is it just about how much time he’s served?

“No, no. It’s not like guilt or innocence. The trials and many prosecutions and that many of them are too hard to say that one is good or bad or pure and like that– is basically go on all the circumstances, good and bad.”

And finally, have you gotten any indication from the Obama administration of where they might be headed on this?

“No. Just that I got a response from the pardon attorney that he received my letter as part of the file and that, at least the pardon attorney, has it under consideration. Everything goes through him before it goes to the President.”

Well, those are my only questions. Is there anything else our listeners should know about this issue?

“I think we just have to look at the background, look at the history and see it’s been 30-some years.”

Reynolds’ letter supporting Peltier’s clemency was first reported by The Guardian.

Peltier is incarcerated at Coleman penitentiary, which is about an hour north of Tampa.

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