I wrote yesterday about the increasing momentum that seems to be swelling up about the case of triple-life prisoner Clarence Aaron, and the alarming allegations raised in last week's joint ProPublica/Washington Post report that his plea for commutation was mishandled by the current head of the U.S. Pardon Attorney's office, Ronald Rodgers. The NAACP and ACLU had just served as two of over three dozen signatories on a letter sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Whether or not that letter had anything to do with it, two Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee today put pressure directly on the White House to investigate ProPublica's claims.
Rep. John Conyers, the committee's ranking member, co-authored a letter to President Obama requesting that he take action on the Clarence Aaron case. Though Rep. Conyers and Rep. Bobby Scott, a fellow Judiciary member, didn't spell ProPublica reporter Dafna Linzer's name correctly, they got pretty much everything else right:
“...we request that you direct Attorney General (Eric) Holder to investigate these allegations. And if the allegations are proven, we believe the case warrants your immediate reconsideration of his application for clemency.”
Along with the White House, Conyers and Scott are calling upon Attorney General Eric Holder because the U.S. Pardon Attorney's office is a section of the Department of Justice that he leads. Linzer also notes that even Alberto Gonzales, the (admittedly disgraced) former Attorney General under George W. Bush, is speaking out about her report:
"Assuming the reporting in the Post to be true, the failure by the pardon attorney to inform the White House of the views of the prosecutor and judge in the case of Clarence Aaron is troubling."
Paired with Aaron's mother appearing tomorrow at the National Press Club in Washington, it will be very interesting to see if this case gets the attention it merits. It certainly grabbed ours, hence our coverage this past Sunday. It's clear that the NAACP, the ACLU, and now two influential Congressmen. We'll see if the Justice Department and the White House are next.
I encourage you to view Melissa's interview with Linzer from Sunday's show, and read the Conyers-Scott letter. Both are below the jump.
Dafna Linzer, a reporter at Pro-Publica, shares the story of Clarence Aaron, a former star linebacker at the Southern University in Louisiana who is serving three life-sentences without parole for drug crimes. Aaron is now seeking presidential commutation, but what are his chances?