Joe Jackson Freed

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Joe Jackson with two of his children, Cole and April – Courtesy Joe Jackson (2016)

UPDATE: President Obama Commutes Joe’s Life Sentence 8/3/2016!

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the President made grants of commutation of sentences to Joe Jackson and his brother, Tommy (along with 212 others!):

  • Dickey Joe Jackson – Boyd, TX
    Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine; possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine (two counts); felon in possession of a firearm;  possession of an unregistered firearm (two counts); Northern District of Texas
    Sentence: Life imprisonment; five years’ supervised release (May 17, 1996)

Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on December 1, 2016.

  • Tommy Merrel Jackson – Boyd, TX
    Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine; Northern District of Texas
    Sentence: Life imprisonment; five years’ supervised release (May 17, 1996)

Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on December 1, 2016.

Joe and his brother, Tommy, both serving life sentences, had those sentences commuted today by President Obama.

We congratulated Joe’s clemency attorney, Richard Burr, and received the following statement on Joe’s commutation today:

The effort to help Joe Jackson and his brother Tommy get out of prison has had many, many helping hands – from journalist Malcolm Garcia, who wrote the first article about Joe and who awakened many to the tragedies behind so many federal life sentences, to Michael Snipes, the person who was the prosecutor in Joe’s case who wrote letters supporting clemency for Joe and Tommy, to Joe’s family who never gave up on him and who persisted all these years in their efforts to help Joe get out, to Joe’s case manager at FCI-Medium Forrest City, who wrote a wonderful letter urging clemency for Joe and who always immediately helped me get the records I needed from BOP, to the many lifelong family friends who never gave up on Joe, some of whom offered him a job when he got out.  But most of all, Joe Jackson helped himself get to this moment.  He never had a disciplinary write-up in the more than 20 years he spent in prison.  He worked hard at educating and improving himself.  He did whatever he was assigned to do in BOP to the best of his ability.  And, he learned from what happened, expressed deep remorse, and found redemption.  In the process, he gained the deep respect of all within the BOP who knew him.  The clemency he got today was because of who he is and how he has lived his life.  There has been a loving supporting cast, but he is primarily responsible for the good that has come his way today.

Richard Burr, Burr & Welch P.C.

We also emailed Joe and asked for his thoughts:

WELL, IM STILL IN A STATE OF SHOCK RIGHT NOW BUT, MAN!!!! MY HEARTS BEATING A HUNDRED MILES PER HR. JUST HOPE I DONT FALL OVER FROM A HEART ATTACK BEFORE I GET HOME :). AND FOR REAL JEREMY, ITS A DUE TO KIND FOLKS LIKE YOURSELF AND COUNTLESS OTHERS WHO HAVE BROUGHT THESE LONG UNFAIR SENTENCES INTO THE PUBLICS VIEW THAT HAVE MORE OR LESS FORCED THE ISSUE. ILL BE ETERNALLY GRATEFUL TO YOU ALL AND PLAN ON DOING ALL I CAN TO HELP OTHERS THAT ARE IN THE SAME SITUATION MY FAMILY AND I HAVE SUFFERED THRU ALL THESE YRS. GOTTA LOT OF MAIL TO ANSWER AND CALLS TO MAKE SO ILL CLOSE. OH, AND IVE BEEN APPROVED FOR HOME CONFINEMENT SO I SHOULD BE HOME IN ABOUT A WK.

 – Joe Jackson, one of 214 prisoners whose sentences were commuted on August 3

Drug War Stories is thrilled at this news and wish Joe and his family well.

There are thousands more in prison under harsh and draconian sentencing laws who also deserving clemency.  We will work for the day they can all return home.