Brunner and Emily Strongwater, another Atlanta attorney handling a clemency case, learned this week that their clients were among the prisoners benefiting from Obama's effort to reconcile those sentenced under outdated mandatory minimums for possession of crack cocaine.
"Defense attorneys don't always have good days, but this was a good day," said Brunner of the win. Strongwater and Brunner submitted petitions for clemency through the volunteer group, called the Clemency Project.
Prisoners eligible for assistance through the Clemency Project must have served a minimum of 10 years, have no violent offenses or history of violence prior to their current term of imprisonment, have demonstrated good behavior in prison, and be serving a sentence that would have likely be much lower under current guidelines. The organization then matches eligible prisoners with pro bono attorneys, who work with Clemency Project staff to prepare compelling petitions for clemency.
Of the 61 prisoners granted clemency, 25 worked with the Clemency Project, according to the group. "The Clemency Project does a really great job of helping attorneys write the petitions and get that done effectively," said Strongwater.
Strongwater applied directly with the Clemency Project to offer pro bono assistance. Her client, Gregory Morgan, was also subjected to a sentence elevated for crack cocaine, and has served 168 months of a 225-month sentence to date. Under current guidelines, Morgan's charge would only draw a mandatory sentence of 140 months.