Vivienne wants to draw your attention to this very important article. We are still waiting to hear if there is a chance Obama will let Leonard out. Vivienne has kept quiet in the hopes of achieving something positive!
“When you stand at the bottom and you look at the naked underbelly of our system, it has got flaws. It’s still the best one we’ve got, but at certain points there has to be a call for clemency and that’s where we are,” the former U.S. attorney said.
As for the famously controversial trial for the June 1975 shootings and subsequent appeal from Peltier — which was rejected — Reynolds admitted that “we might have shaved a few corner here and there.”
Reynolds was appointed to his position by former President Jimmy Carter in 1980.
His predecessor, Evan Hultman, handled the original prosecution of Peltier for the FBI agents deaths during a wild shoot out at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
Reynolds asked Hultman to stay on and help block Peltier’s appeal, which failed to get his conviction overturned.
Peltier, who was part of the American Indian Movement in the 1970s — a group the FBI was investigating for suspected subversive activities — is considered a political prisoner by Amnesty International. His fight for freedom has garnered support from all corners of the globe and is a cause celebrated among many different social justice groups.
Peltier has spent most of his adult life behind bars, most recently in a high-security super-max federal prison in Florida.
Now a grandfather, with a heart condition and numerous health issues, Peltier still refuses to admit his guilt — even if would help his clemency case.
“I am prepared to die here. I would prefer it be back at my home, but I’m a realistic about my chances,” Peltier told The News in May, when a reporter visited him in prison.
An Indian of Anishinabe, Dakota, and Lakota heritage, Peltier grew up among the Turtle Mountain Chippewa and Fort Totten Sioux Nations of North Dakota. He said he plans to be buried there on his father’s ancestral lands.
His supporters have pushed for a presidential pardon for Peltier for decades — coming close in 2001 when outgoing president Bill Clinton was said to be strongly considering it.
But 500 FBI agents took to the street in a protest, and Clinton wound up pardoning fugitive financier Marc Rich.
Now, Peltier and his family are pinning their hopes on the outgoing Obama administration — likely his last bid for clemency.
He’s next up for parole in 2024, when he will be 79.
Reynolds said he is hoping President Obama will take matters into his own hands.
He sent a copy of his letter to Obama to the DOJ and got a note in return acknowledging its receipt, he said.
The DOJ told him they had appreciated his service and that his letter had been added to Peltier’s clemency file.
The agency also told him Peltier’s petition “was under review,” Reynolds said.
“I know I’m going against company policy, as they say,” he said of the FBI resistance to granting Peltier clemency. “But at this point, we’ve got 40 years on him, 40 pounds of flesh, maybe it’s time to let him go … I don’t think keeping him in there will make society a better place.”