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What is commutation?
A commuted sentence is a legal sentence which has been adjusted by an official to make the sentence less severe. Classically, commuted sentences come in the form of reduced imprisonment, although commutation can also involve a reduction of fees and other penalties ordered by a judge.
Meaningful Commutation means revitalizing this legal process of sentence reduction that already exists. At one time, as many as 12 lifers a year had their sentence commuted. At one time, a life sentence meant 7 years. It hasn’t always been like this. Excessive sentencing with no redemption in sight.
In order to have your life sentence commuted the applicant must be approved unanimously by the 5 member board of pardons and the governor.
Thursday August 28 is the Merit Review Hearing. This is one part of a 17 step process for people sentenced to LWOP to be commuted. Avis Lee’s name may or may not be called at this hearing. The hearing will go through a list of names of people seeking commutation and the 5 members of the board of pardons will vote yes or no wether they think this person should have a public hearing. So it’s not a dialogue or discussion more like announcing the ways the board voted. AND 4 of the Board are on speaker phone. Avis Lee applied for commutation 3 years ago and may be approved or denied the public hearing on this day. Avis Lee was the look out for a robbery that went terribly wrong in 1980. She was 18. She has spent over 34 years in prison and we believe she deserves a second chance. Learn more about the case for Avis Lee Here. This is her 5th attempt at commutation.
There are 192 women serving Life Without Parole in PA.
Since 1990 – 50 women have applied for commutation.
Only 6 were granted a hearing.
Not one received commutation.