PATERSON COMMUTATION LETTER

 

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Jalil has prepared the following letter to Governor Paterson of New York State requesting that his sentence in New York State be commuted so that Jalil can focus on the charges he and others are currently facing in the San Francisco 8 case. Please take the time to read this important letter, download and sign the pdf copy, and mail it to Governor Paterson!

July 10, 2009
Honorable David Paterson
The Governor of the State of New York
Executive Chamber State Capital
Albany, New York 12224

RE: Application in Behalf of Anthony Bottom 77A4283 for
Clemency/Commutation of Sentence to Time Served and/or Parole to Warrant

Governor David Paterson:

Introduction

I respectfully submit for your review and consideration this Application for Clemency/Commutation of Sentence to Time Served and/or Parole to Warrant in behalf of Anthony Bottom, 77A4283, a NYS prisoner currently held in San Francisco County Jail on pending charges. The information presented will allow you to see past "the serious nature of the crime" and allow you to assess the blatant reality that Mr. Bottom has achieved rehabilitation within the thirty-six (36) years he has been incarcerated. We also maintain that he is not a threat to society, and that he would be able to remain at liberty and lead a productive life once given the opportunity.

Mr. Bottom became eligible for parole in 2002, and has appeared before the NYS Division of Parole on 3 occasions, 2002, 2004, and 2006. Each of the parole denials were subject to the previous Pataki administration policy to deny discretionary parole for prisoners convicted of a violent offense. Under the Pataki administration, parole decisions had become a game of chance, and Executive Law §259i(2)(c)(a)(1) had been relegated to interpretation, subverting the legislative intent of the statute. Mr. Bottom meets all the requirements to be released on parole pursuant to the guidelines of Executive Law §295i(2)(c) and N.Y.C.R.R. 8000.3(1), (2) and (3). Furthermore, the U.S. Justice Department Bureau of Statistics has calculated an established means to diminish the probability of persons being released to recommit. Mr. Bottom fits the criteria of these statistics indicating that a person who has been in prison over ten years, received a college education, participated in rehabilitation, and is over 35 years in age, with strong community and family support has less than 3% rate of recidivism.

I respectfully submit the following for consideration in regards to Anthony Bottom, the person that he is, and has become through thirty-six years of incarceration.

Case Summary

Anthony Bottom is the oldest of four children born to Richmond and Billie Jo Bottom on October 18, 1951, in Oakland, California. He was raised in a middle-class family in San Jose, California. In elementary school, he received a summer scholarship for a high school chemistry program. While in high school, he received a scholarship for a summer San Jose State University math and engineering program. When arrested on August 28, 1971, he was a high school graduate and working as a social worker with a California Department of Human Resources program. In the course of growing up, he always had summer jobs, his first paper route job at age 11. While in high school, he became active in the Black Student Union and a student organizer for the NAACP. After the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1968, Anthony Bottom began to look towards the Black Panther Party for leadership. Subsequently, he was recruited into the Party by childhood friends who had become BPP members. As a result of his involvement in the Black Panther Party, he became known to the police, the federal government and was subject to COINTELPRO.

Past Criminal History

Mr. Bottom served three years probation for a burglary. On September 19, 1977, Anthony Bottom was paroled from San Quentin having served five years for a shoot-out that occurred when arrested in California on August 28, 1971. On March 17, 2004, the Federal Bureau of Prisons discharged Mr. Bottom pursuant to an application for nunc pro tunc designation on a 25 year sentence for the robbery of a Fidelity Savings and Loan bank.

Instant Offense

Presently, Anthony Bottom is being held in San Francisco County Jail on an extradition warrant executed on or about April 4, 2007, transferred from Auburn Correctional Facility in New York State. His New York State sentence and the subject of this Application is based on a May 1975 commitment of 25 to Life sentence for the murders of New York police officers Waverly M. Jones and Joseph Piagentini on May 21, 1971. He was convicted in a second trial. The first trial ended in a hung jury favoring an acquittal, and Anthony Bottom continues to maintain his innocence. It is understood the parole board must evaluate an individual who has been convicted as being guilty of the crimes. However, it is becoming more and more apparent that there are people who are innocent who have been convicted of crimes. As it pertains to former members of the Black Panther Party who were COINTELPRO targets, many have read headlines of exonerations decades after their convictions. For instance, in California, Geronimo ji-Jaga Pratt, who spent 27 years incarcerated before exoneration, and in NYS, Dhoruba bin Wahad, who spent 19 years incarcerated before exoneration, and who subsequently had been part of the investigation in this case. There is a great possibility the man for which this application is presented is truly innocent in this case. The case of Anthony Bottom is one of racial prejudice and government corruption that was present in the Nixon-Hoover era.

At the time of Anthony Bottom's arrest, former Director of the FBI J. Edgar Hoover implemented a counterintelligence program designed to target the African-American leaders of the Black Panther Party by infiltrating the movement. This program, known as COINTELPRO, applied tactics such as framing members of the movement for crimes they did not commit to remove them from the community.

On May 26, 1971, five days after the murders of Jones and Piagentini, Hoover was summoned to the White House for a confidential meeting with President Richard Nixon and John Erlichman, the Domestic Affairs Advisor, to discuss the unsolved case. This meeting targeted the Black Panther Party as suspects in the murder of the two police officers. Appeals and post conviction challenges on this case have been filed and thus far have been unsuccessful. Judith M. Rosen, Esq., represented Anthony Bottom at an evidentiary hearing in 1992. Attorney Rosen reported, "At the evidentiary hearing before Judge Lasker in 1992, which I participated in, it was determined the Chief of Ballistics of New York City Police Department had committed a grave error as to the ballistics evidence that was the foundation of Mr. Bottom's conviction. Although this was ruled harmless error, I believe that decision was based more on political than legal grounds."

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