All writing is a form of prayer - John Keats

Friday, April 13, 2018

Will Gov. Snyder do the right thing? Nancy deserves clemency!

There’s more than one kind of wrongful conviction.  Let me explain.

Maurice Carter was wrongly convicted. A black man shot and injured a white, off-duty cop. Maurice was not on the scene when the crime occurred. Yet, a jury convicted him of assault with intent to commit murder, and he was sentenced to life in prison. That was a wrongful conviction.

Now let me tell you about another dear friend, Nancy Seaman. The part of Nancy’s life that the public saw was her shining role as an award-winning school teacher. The part of her life that no one knew about was her role as a battered wife in an abusive marriage. Finally, as her husband tried to kill her, she retaliated. He wound up dead, instead of her. A jury convicted her of premeditated, first degree murder and she was sentenced to life in prison without parole. That, in my opinion, was also a wrongful conviction.

Nancy is 65 now. She’s been in prison for 13 years.

For a year I struggled to come up with ways to help this victim of the system. Then Kelle Lynn came along.

Upon hearing the story in 2016, this local activist formed her own organization, Justice Thru Storytelling, and made it her business to try to convert this negative into a positive.

One method for obtaining Nancy’s freedom was to seek a grant of clemency by Governor Rick Snyder. It was a long shot, but thanks to a strong team effort, an application for a commutation of Nancy’s sentence was filed with the State of Michigan. Overwhelming support came, not only from hundreds of petition signers, but also from the sentencing Judge and a former prison psychologist! Almost unheard of! And yet, the Michigan Parole Board refused to show any interest, and forwarded the application to Governor Snyder’s office.

Once again a discouraged Nancy Seaman lost hope. But those of us who believe in her, and who support the cause, are still hoping to persuade the Governor that considering clemency is the only decent thing to do.

Not everyone can attend a postcard-writing effort in Grand Haven tomorrow, but everyone can send a personal letter to Governor Snyder. Your personal involvement is essential right now!

Governor Snyder’s favorable action will not only give Nancy a new lease on life, but will also send a strong message of support to thousands of women, victims of abuse, now serving time as a result of, what I call, wrongful convictions!

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