From the May 2007 Idaho Observer:

Commutation of sentence

One of our subscribers, David Correa, was sentenced to life in a Florida federal prison as a non-violent, first time drug law violator. In a recent letter to The IO, he mentioned that the 22-year prison sentence of Phillip Emmert of Ohio for his 1992 conviction of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine had been commuted by President Bush Dec. 21, 2006.

We suggested to Correa that he find out how the sentence of Emmert’s conviction had been commuted and attempt to duplicate the process.

In essence, Emmert, 18 months after being sent to prison, experienced a spiritual conversion prompted by his wife being in a car accident and becoming paralyzed from the waist down. Emmert, who grew up around drugs, sought clemency on grounds that he had demonstrated extraordinary rehabilitation through a spiritual transformation, his wife’s medical condition and the disproportionate and unduly severe sentence he had received.

During his 14 years in the federal prison system, Emmert took every opportunity to improve himself—and to help others improve themselves. The system acknowledged his achievements by moving him in stages to minimum security and then, finally, to community custody. According to his appeal for commutation, "Only the President, by act of clemency, can take the final step to return Phillip to society."

Emmert’s clemency plea was supported by his strength of character, his sentencing judge, the federal prosecutor, the governor, both U.S. senators and a representative from Iowa, the sheriff from his county and the entire First Assembly of God Church community from Washington, Iowa.

Correa was thankful for the tip and is attempting to duplicate the process. He also expressed his desire that we pass this message along so that other harshly sentenced drug war prisoners may be inspired by Emmert’s story and see that faith, hope, strength of character, moral maturity and a desire to help others can prevail.

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