“I served time with Josephine,” said CAN-DO Founder Amy Povah. “This was the best news I’ve received since I heard that Angie Jenkins received clemency. We were all together at FCI Dublin. We spent many hours in the law library, but what I remember most about Josie was her soul. Josie has a very pure soul, despite what anyone believes about people who are convicted of drug crimes.”
Channel 7 reached out to CAN-DO a few hours after the list of clemencies released inquiring to interview Josie’s family. We put them in contact with Josie’s daughter, Lizette Ledesma and the result is the following happy ending news-story of a nightmare that too many Americans are living, who have yet to receive mercy in the form of clemency.
President Obama broke a record by granting 214 clemencies in one day! August 3, 2016 will be remembered as a day that the President administered historic mercy in the form of executive clemency to people who received draconian sentences dating back to the tough on crime era of the late 80’s and 90’s. According to P.S. Ruckman of Pardon Power:
The previous record was set by Franklin Roosevelt on July 26, 1935. On that day, FDR granted 151 commutations of sentence. Below is a chart of grants that, at the time, established a record for commutation grants in a single day. For those with more technical knowledge of clemency, President Obama’s record is clearly established even with the blur between commutations and pardons that existed in the 1700’s and 1800’s.
We are elated for 13 CAN-DO members who received clemency, including:
Minnie Pearl Thomas
Dicky Joe Jackson
Five more members who were not profiled on the website, include:
We are not taking credit for their freedom, because we realize many factors are involved, not the least of which is a vigorous vetting by the Office of the Pardon Attorney and Deputy Attorney General who have the final say as to which cases travel to the White House. First and foremost these prisoners are responsible for their freedom. They have clearly performed outstanding conduct, programming, and exemplary behavior while incarcerated, plus their family members have been advocating for them since the day they went to prison. Family members suffer every day their loved one is incarcerated and they are the foundation of support for these prisoners. Congratulations are in order to them and condolences are in order for the family members of applicants who are still waiting for their turn to rejoice.
That said, we are proud that seven prisoners were enrolled in the CAN-DO Guardian Angel program lead by Jason Hernandez, Ramona Brant, Anrica Caldwell, and Amy Povah. They each paired Guardian Angels with the applicants (Angels) to perform a litany of tasks in order to enhance their opportunity of clemency.
Read more about Josephine Ledezma who was #3 on the Top 25 Women CAN-DO Founder Amy Povah served time with Josie (approx. 8 years). “I’m thrilled for Josie and her family, especially Lizette Ledesma, her daughter who has been fighting vigorously for her all these years.”
Josephine Ledezma 994938-012
Age: 58 yrs old
Children: 2 sons and 1 daughter – 9 grandchildren, 5 girls and 4 boys.
Charge: Conspiracy to Transport Cocaine and Aiding and Abetting
Already served: 24 years
Release Date: Death
Prison Conduct: Never received a single incident report in 24 years – exemplary conduct.
Priors: First Time Offender
Accomplishments: Josie has participated and completed almost every course offered by the BOP.
Unicor Employee for over 20 years; volunteers at Chapel; Graduated 5400 hour training program for Dept. of Labor. Her list of achievements is extremely long.
Clemency Petition: Clemency petition will be filed in January of 2016.
Institution: FCI Dublin, 5701 – 8th St. Camp Parks, Dublin, CA 94568
Read more about Minnie Pearl who was #5 on the CAN-DO Top 25 Minnie is the grandmother of Demaryius Thomas of the Denver Broncos. CAN-DO started a change.org petition for both Josie and Minnie to garner support for her clemency, and we are so delighted that dream has finally been realized.
Name: Minnie Pearl Thomas #89378-020
Race: African American
Children: Daughter Katina Smith
Charges: Conspiracy to Distribute Crack Cocaine
Sentence: Life Without Parole
Incarcerated since: 2000
Served: 16 years
Priors: 2 drug related priors
Institution: Tallahassee FCI
Clemency: Petition pending
Supporters: CAN-DO Foundation, Katina Smith, Demaryius Thomas, Famalies for Justice as Healing, and the LOHM
Ream more about Pauline Blake who was #15 on the CAN-DO Top 25
Pauline Kay Blake – 07959-081
Children: 3 sons, 1 grandchild
Served: 14 years
Sentence: 24 yrs 4 months
Release Date: 02/17/2022
Priors: Bad checks
Charge: Conspiracy to Manufacture and Distribute Meth; Aiding and Abetting
Prison Conduct: Perfect record in prison
Accomplishments: Completed almost 100 courses in prison, including training service dogs with CAN-DO Canines; Suicide Watch; Earned a GED; Horticulture; Alcoholics Anonymous; etc.
Clemency Petition: Filled out the survey for Clemency Project 2014
Institution: Victorville FCI
Ream more about Charceil Kellam who was #16 on the Top 25 Women
Name: Charceil Kellam #059920-084
Charge: Conspiracy to dist, poss, poss to dist.
Sentence: 2 LIFE PLUS 30YRS
Release Date: unknown
Served: 10 yrs sept-2016 locked-up since sept.2006
Started Sentence: sentenced Aug27,2007
Priors:2 petty misd.for drugs (1) felony for a pipe,shoplifting,public assit.fraud failure to report
Prison Conduct: a few minor infractions
Institution: Hazelton SFF
Supporters: Crack Open the Door, CAN-DO, Families for Justice as Healing, and the LOHM
Read more about Dicky Joe Jackson who was #5 on the CAN-DO Top 25 men. Got this message from Joy Jackson via email: “WELL, I KNOW YOUVE HEARD BY NOW AND AGAIN I JUST WANT TO THANK YOU. ONCE I GET HOME AND GET SETTLED IN, ILL CALL YOU. I WANT TO DO ALL I CAN FOR THOSE STILL IN SO IM GONNA GET WITH YOU WHEN I GET HOME. THEYVE APPROVED ME FOR HOME CONFINEMENT SO ILL BE HOME IN A WK OR SO. LOVE YOU GAL AND THANKS FOR PUTTING UP WITH ME AND MINE. WE”RE GONNA BE THERE WITH YOU SO COUNT ME IN”
Name: Dicky Joe Jackson #24017-077
Children: 3 April, 35, Jon 28, Cole 25
Charge: Conspiracy with intent to distribute Meth. ,
Started Sent on: Jan 10,1996,
Sentence: Life Without Parole
Served: 20 years
Priors: (1) Possession of 1/2 gram of meth (2)-possession with intent to dis marijuana
Prison Conduct: Never any incident in 20 years. Always supported myself and now have 21 certificates of courses completed during my stay at the BOP.
Institution: Forrest City, AR.
Read more about Antonio Lopez #15 on the Top 25 Men received clemency!
Name: Antonio Lopez, #33887-077
Children: 1 Adult daughter, 1 Granddaughter
Charge: Conspiracy to distribute Methamphetamine
Release Date: 2025
Started Sentence on: 1999
Served: 17 Years
Priors: 2 Felony Burglary of a Habitation and 2 Misdemeanor possession of Marijuana
Prison Conduct: Only one disciplanry incident in 17 years
Ream more about Tommy Martinez #15 on the Top 25 Men who Deserve Clemency
Name: Tommy M. Martinez #04517025
Marital Status: Single/Engaged
State you are from: Illinois
State where you were charged: Illinois
Charge: Conspiracy to distribute crack
Served to date: 17 Years
Started Sentence on: August 1998
Priors: Possession of cannabis
Prison Conduct: Two minor violations/Incident report free for over 10 years
Clemency status: Pending
Supporters: CAN-DO Foundation, Crack Open the Door, father, children, children’s mother, fiancé, sister, numerous friends and family members