Wrongfully Convicted.  Wrongfully Incarcerated.

Rick Scott, Pam Bondi, Jeff Atwater, and Adam Putnam are now considering Kris Helton for executive clemency!

Posted by elaine watson-venable on May 21, 2014 at 5:00 PM


Quite a while back, Kris Helton asked the Clemency Board for the State of Florida (the Hon. Rick Scott, Governor; the Hon. Pam Bondi, Attorney General; the Hon. Jeff Atwater, Chief Financial Officer; and the Hon. Adam Putnam, Commissioner of Agriculture) to review and commute his sentence in this truly "special" case. Click here to read the application.


Now, the Clemency Board has just asked the Florida Commission on Offender Review (the Hon. Tena Pate, Commissioner/Chair; the Hon. Melinda Coonrod, Commissioner/Vice-Chair; and the Hon .Richard Davison, Commissioner/Secretary) to make a non-binding recommendation on whether it should review and commute his sentence. Click here to read the request.

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2:06 PM on May 22, 2014 
For obvious reasons, we are not putting all our eggs in the clemency basket. Kris is sending his motion to the federal court later today. The federal judge assigned to his case can granted relief much faster than the clemency board. Plus, if Kris get relief from the federal court, he will get a new trial or be freed outright. With clemency, only his sentence will be commuted. But either way, this is good news!
Reply Kris Fargo
3:30 PM on May 22, 2014 
Nothing against Rick Scott, Pam Bondi, Jeff Atwater, and Adam Putnam, but I have way more faith in Donald Middlebrooks because he is not facing reelection this fall. Besides, like Marie just said, if Kris gets some relief granted in the federal court (either a new trial or an outright discharge), this will be far more meaningful than him simply getting his sentence commuted.
Reply Ishmail Patel
3:09 PM on May 24, 2014 
Not to take anything away from Elaine Watson-Venable?s desire to see Kris Helton freed via executive clemency, but I agree with Marie Meyer and Kris Fargo: Either getting a new trial or being exonerated and ordered released by the federal courts is much better than just getting your sentence commuted. But at least Kris Helton now has Rick Scott, Pam Bondi, Jeff Atwater, and Adam Putnam firmly holding a safety net of executive clemency in case something goes wrong in the federal courts.
3:13 PM on May 24, 2014 
Yes, I like the idea of clemency being a safety net, especially considering that it will take months and months for the Parole Commission to make a simply up or down recommendation to the Clemency Board. With Kris just filing his motion in the federal court, Judge Middlebrooks can now act quickly to ensure that he finally gets a new trial or freed outright based on his previous shows of innocence.
Reply elaine watson-venable
5:35 PM on May 24, 2014 
Hey Ishmail, this is not about my comments, this is about Kris and his freedom. . However, if ya want a debate, bring it on,,,LOL
Reply Jerome Johnson
11:30 AM on May 27, 2014 
I am placing my bet on the federal judge (with a lifetime appointment) doing something for Kris long before these politicians (with an upcoming election) lift a finger to help him.
Reply Julio Castro
8:31 PM on May 27, 2014 
The federal court can act quicker.
8:37 PM on May 27, 2014 
With Kris? motion now pending in the federal court, everyone will see the federal court acting quickly. Hopefully, the decision will be favorable, either awarding Kris a new trial or discharging him. If not, I am sure Kris will appeal and we can focus on other avenues, including clemency.
Reply Charlie Simpson
8:43 PM on May 27, 2014 
Any idea whether prosecutors will oppose clemency? If they have no position right now, Mel Black may be able to persuade them to support a commutation of Kris? sentence. Why would they do that? Catherine Vogel would be able to hang onto Kris? conviction, perhaps in deference to her predecessors, while allowing him to be freed due to all of the lingering doubts about his guilt.
Reply Jerome Johnson
8:54 PM on May 27, 2014 
You are giving prosecutors way too much credit! When did they start agreeing to win-win situations? They have to look like they won! Or you have to twist their arms!
Reply Miranda James
9:02 PM on May 27, 2014 
Kris does not win with the state hanging onto his conviction for a crime he did not commit. Plus, look at all of the years they will have gotten out of him. He has now served more time than he would have done under their very worst plea offer. If they strike an agreement, everyone will agree prosecutors won.
Reply Ashley Nugent
9:14 PM on May 27, 2014 
Mel Black has the ability to twist some arms! All he has to do is point out that with 100,000+ Twitter followers, 30,000+ Facebook group members, 2,000+ Google Plus followers, etc., we can make some very big waves in social media, endorse or oppose candidates for public office, etc.!
3:28 PM on May 28, 2014 
Until we figure out what the federal court is going to do with Kris? motion, can we please table the talk on clemency?
Reply Kris Fargo
8:39 PM on May 28, 2014 
Sure, all this talk about clemency is a little bit premature considering the fact that Kris now has a very compelling motion pending in federal court which could result in him being freed sooner rather than later (via clemency). Just keep in mind that Kris? supporters are always going to be extremely optimistic about any door which gets opened for Kris -- and nobody cares which door he passes through as long as it leads to his freedom!
Reply Ismail Patel
9:05 PM on May 28, 2014 
I understand.
Reply Jerome Johnson
9:11 PM on May 28, 2014 
Me, too!
Reply Julio Castro
9:21 PM on May 28, 2014 
Reply Charlie Simpson
9:32 PM on May 28, 2014 
Even while Kris? motion is pending, Mel Black can still reach out to prosecutors. He has nothing to lose . . . and opening a line of communication may be fruitful!
Reply Jerome Johnson
9:37 PM on May 28, 2014 
There is no fruit on that prosecutorial tree!
Reply Charlie Simpson
9:40 PM on May 28, 2014 
Well, that may be true, but there is no harm in Mel Black looking to see if the tree is barren.

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