Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Application for Clemency

We are asking the Governor of the State of New York to grant clemency to Eugenia Pedraza, a 50 year-old mother of three who has served more than half of a 23-year prison sentence.

This blog is intended to let people know about Eugenia and why it makes no sense to continue her incarceration.  In short:
  • Eugenia has an exemplary record at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility.  She has lived on the Honor Floor  for many years, and has worked to be of service and to improve herself.
  • Eugenia was convicted for crimes stemming from a domestic dispute with her ex-husband.  There is no discernable risk of recidivism.
  • The illegal acts were committed by Eugenia’s step-father and two male accomplices.  Eugenia was tried on an “accomplice” theory.
  • Eugenia should not have been convicted in the first place.  She was interrogated without timely Miranda warnings and without being told she could consult with the Mexican Consulate.  She was questioned in Spanish, but compelled to sign a written statement in English, which she could not read at the time.  This "evidence" improperly was used at trial.
  • The length of the sentence is excessive under the circumstances.  She was offered a plea deal of 3 years in prision.  Her pre-sentence review recommended 5 years of probation, along with mental health treatment.  The step-father and his accomplices have already served their time and have been released.  Yet she is serving 23 years to life.
  • Eugenia is remorseful and earnest, and she has a supportive family awaiting her release.  Commutation of her sentence would assist the rehabilitation process.
We will say more about all of this as we go.  Whatever one might think about the underlying circumstances and the fairness of her conviction, no purpose can be served by Eugenia's continued incarceration.  We urge the Governor to give this matter a thorough review and to commute the remainder of Eugenia's sentence.

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