By Steve Neavling
A group of prominent lawyers is trying to win the freedom of Leonard Peltier, a Lakota tribe member who was convicted of murdering two FBI agents in 1977.
Mother Jones reports that Peltier, who has served 40 of his 71 federal prison sentence, is appealing for clemency and requesting that President Obama make it happen.
“[T]he time has come for the interests of the law enforcement community to be balanced against principles of fundamental fairness, reconciliation, and healing,” the lawyers wrote in a five-page letter to the president.
“Mr. Peltier has exhausted all appeals and is next eligible to apply for parole in 2024, in the unlikely event that he lives that long,” the letter to Obama states. “The Parole Commission has yielded to the objections of the FBI and DOJ in denying Mr. Peltier’s applications for parole at every turn. Effectively, this Petition represents the last chance in Mr. Peltier’s lifetime for the Government to take curative and/or reconciliatory action.”
To some, Peltier has become international symbol the justice system’s mistreatment of Native Americans. His trial was fraught with irregularities, including witnesses who said they were coerced by the FBI.