Michael Yandal thanks Pres. Obama for granting his clemency on 3/30/16

Email from Michael Yandal thanking God and President Obama, in that order. 
First of all, I just want to give all the glory to God. I know it was him, speaking through my mother, who has constantly kept me motivated throughout this entire ordeal. Everytime she asked me “have you filed a Clemency Petition yet?” That was him, and I know that he used her as his vessel because she is the basically the only person I still listen to! And after I filed my petition, every time I called her, the very first thing out of her mouth was “have you heard anything yet?” so it was a must that the first phone call I made this past Wednesday was to her, letting her know that she doesn’t have to worry about anything anymore.

My parents stuck by my side, and I can never repay them fully for what they have done for me in my absence. I will always be in their debt.  Thank you.

And I will always be in President Obama’s debt.  He has given me my life back so that I can return to my family and do what I need to do for them. I will not ever forget what he has done for my family, and I will live the rest of my days showing him that his stroke of the pen was not a waste of time. I have work to do, and I can’t wait to get it done. Thank you President Obama.

And lastly I would like to thank Amy Povah, for shining a ray of hope at a time when I needed it most. It was so dark in here, but like they say, it is always the darkest before the dawn. Thank you Amy.


Michael Yandal – soon to be a free man!!!

Also from Michael Yandal on April 2, 2016

Criam and I both got our official letters yesterday! The Camp Administrator hand delivered them to us. Elated isn’t a big enough word to describe the feeling. It’s surreal because last summer, there were two guys that live in this housing unit that received clemency. Then, during the December round of clemency, a friend of ours that lives in a different unit here got it. Now this round, Criam and myself both got it, and we actually are housed like three cubicles apart! Wow. There is some serious good luck on this compound/unit!

Michael Yandal’s Case and Story: 

I am originally from Fort Belvoir VA. My mother’s side of the family is from Hickman, KY. When I was 15 years old, my father retired from the Army after serving 20 plus years, and my parents decided to relocate to Hickman, KY, so that we could finally live around family, as opposed to living on bases.

I attended and graduated from Fulton County High School in 1990. After a year of working, I attended Murray State University, in Murray, KY. After several semesters, I withdrew from college and entered the Marine Corps in 1993. After my brief stint in the military, I relocated to Union City, TN, which is only about 9 miles from the KY state line. I began to work and live there and I started my family there as well.

9 years and 3 children later, I decided to move my family to Murray, KY, so that me and my ex-wife could finally complete our college educations. In 2004, my ex-wife and I finally were married in Las Vegas. In 2005, I was arrested by Mayfield Police Department on June 23rd, 2005. Those charges were dismissed, only to be resubmitted to the federal courts on October 11, 2005, in violation USC Title 28 section 1446, now 1455. After loosing my suppression hearing, which was violative of the Younger Abstention Doctrine, I entered a plea of guilty in federal district court, so that I could remain on bond long enough to graduate with a degree.

In May 2006, I completed my Associate Degree in Engineering Graphics, and continued to persue my Bachelor’s Degree in the same major, all while on bond for this instant case. After graduating, I withdrew my guilty plea, and I also continued to take classes at Murray State. My withdrawal also was based upon the fact that the owner of the drugs in question came forward. In October of 2006, the federal judge granted the motion to withdraw the guilty plea and set the trial date for January 4th, 2007. I did not testify at my trial, and several constitutional violations occurred during the proceeding, resulting in the jury returning a guilty verdict. I was then sentenced to 195 months that April. That sentence was further reduced to 180 months in 2009 due to the “crack minus two” guideline reduction. (Amendment 750).

My case involved crack cocaine and marijuana. Essentially, my case began as a drug intervention that went wrong. I have a family member that is an addict, that also tried to start dealing drugs. When I found out about it, I took the drugs from them, only to get pulled over moments later, and charged with possession with intent to distribute. Because I wouldn’t testify against them, and because they plead the fifth at trial, I got found guilty. I also had a weapon in my car, which was legally owned and legally possessed. I have a prior misdemeanor marijuana charge, but I have never sold crack cocaine in my life. Regardless, I have been fighting my case from day one trying to get a hearing.

During this incarceration I have never been housed within my home area. The first three years I was housed in Yazoo City, MS, 5 hours from Hickman. The past 6 years, I have been housed in Manchester, KY, which is 6 hours away from my parents home. They are too old to make this drive, as my parents both have health issues.

This distance has resulted in the destruction of my family, due to my ex-wife filing for divorce two years ago. It has also resulted in my children acting out. All of this has also caused my elderly parents more stress as they have taken on my role as provider for my children in my absence. Currently, my oldest son is 21 and he lives with my parents. My two youngest children have been forced to move with their mother to Tennessee, along with her new husband.

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