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NACDL - National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Jan 19, 2022

Virginia Redemption Project Secures Release, Continues Work In Hopes For More -- Washington, DC (Jan. 19, 2022)

Washington, DC (Jan. 19, 2022) – Last week, one of NACDL’s Return to Freedom efforts, the Virginia Redemption Project, secured its first conditional pardon grant. This comes after two additional grants which were supported by the Virginia Redemption Project. NACDL, the Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (VACDL), the ACLU of Virginia, Justice Forward Virginia, FAMM, and the Legal Aid Justice Center (LAJC) launched the Virginia Redemption Project in August of 2020 to help train and support volunteer lawyers as they assist individuals incarcerated in Virginia’s prisons petition for post-sentencing relief and executive clemency (which in Virginia is called a conditional pardon and is an act by the governor to modify a sentence). At its core, the Virginia Redemption Project focused on ensuring that those who are most at risk of illness from COVID-19 and who cannot afford a lawyer have access to meaningful review of their case.

"This grant by Governor Northam is a culmination of the tireless work put in by the volunteer lawyers that took up this case. NACDL congratulates Sincere Allah and his counsel, Brendan O’Toole of Williams Mullen, and attorney Evan Tucker, on this much deserved grant," said Virginia Redemption Project Resource Counsel Katherine Jensen. "As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it is important to remember that many deserving individuals are still being held in our nation’s prisons and jails and need acts like this to receive relief. The Project will continue on, hoping for more grants in the future, and of course celebrate this life-saving grant."

"It is an absolute honor to have helped Mr. Allah begin this new chapter," stated Mr. Allah’s counsel, Brendan O’Toole. "He touched many lives in prison, but never lost hope that his freedom could help him be even more productive on the outside. I know he will continue these same efforts now that his long fight for freedom has been realized. It has been a privilege to work alongside members of the Virginia Redemption Project to achieve this wonderful result."

"Thank you to the countless volunteers who have worked with NACDL and the Virginia Redemption Project to make this grant happen. The pandemic has exacerbated the systematic failures of mass incarceration. This Project was launched to help alleviate those failures by providing counsel to the most vulnerable and at-risk individuals inside of our nation’s prisons," said NACDL Executive Director Lisa Wayne. "NACDL is proud of the work that has been done and will keep going. Thank you to Governor Northam for finally taking action to address the crisis inside, and hopefully the new Governor will continue where he left off."

This article was syndicated from the NACDL website and originally appeared on:

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NACDL - National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

Founded in 1958, NACDL is the largest organization for criminal defense lawyers fighting to preserve fairness within America's criminal justice system. The organization has more than 10,000 direct members including criminal defense attorneys in private practice, public defenders in state or federal court, U.S. military defense counsel, law professors and judges.