dear mr president, yes you can
ACLU Files Commutation Petition On Behalf Of Man Serving Unjust Prison Sentence For Non-Violent Crime
the stories behind the sentences
the unjust crack-powder cocaine sentencing disparity
the power of forgiveness
Kenneth Lumpkin
Hamedah Hasan with daughters Kamyra (left), Kasaundra (center) and Ayesha (right).
Kenneth Lumpkin (right) holding his grandson, with daughters Rahkeen, Mercedes, and Kenya, and son Blake
"My hands are tied, based upon the fact that the sentencing guidelines mandate the 20-year sentence in this case..."
— Judge Dickran Tevrizian, September 1996

These were the words spoken by the Honorable Judge Tevrizian, U.S. District Court of Los Angeles, after he was forced to apply a one-size-fits-all sentence to a crime in which Kenneth Lumpkin was only a minor player. Despite the fact that he was facing a 20-year prison sentence, there was no discussion of the struggles Kenneth faced as a young boy growing up in a drug and gang infested neighborhood; the effect that a lengthy sentence would have on his family, including his four then-young children; the very small amount that he personally profited from his involvement in the crime; or that Kenneth's crime involved either violence nor the presence of a weapon, threats, or coercion. Learn more >>


Hamedah Hasan
Hamedah Hasan with daughters Kamyra (left), Kasaundra (center) and Ayesha (right).
Hamedah with daughters Kamyra (left), Kasaundra (center) and Ayesha (right)
"with profound regret and sincere apology to the Defendant, Hasan..."
-- Judge Laurie Smith Camp, June 2009

These were the words written by the Honorable Judge Smith Camp, U.S. District Court of Nebraska, after she reluctantly reversed her own ruling, which would have made Hamedah Hasan a free woman. Just five days before, Hamedah and her three daughters were preparing to be reunited after more than 16 years apart while Hamedah served a prison sentence for conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. Hamedah and her family were devastated by the reversal, and Judge Smith Camp was not the first judge to condemn her sentence and the criminal justice system's excessively harsh response in Hamedah's case. Learn more>>

aclu logo