Gov. Lee grants executive clemency to 17 people

Gov. Lee granted executive clemency to seventeen, forgiving many for their convictions.
Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 4:37 PM CST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - On Thursday, Gov. Bill Lee granted executive clemency to seventeen individuals who demonstrated successful rehabilitation. He also established a new process for offenders seeking clemency following a drug-free school zone conviction, a release stated.

Tennessee Board of Parole assisted in making the executive clemency decisions, officials said.

“After reviewing the unique merits of each case, I have made the decision to grant these individuals executive clemency,” said Gov. Lee. “These men and women have shown they are ready for productive lives beyond their sentences, and I appreciate the Board of Parole’s consideration in this process.”

There are three types of executive clemency, exoneration, a pardon, and a commutation.

An exoneration is a finding by the governor that an applicant did not commit the crime for which he or she was convicted.

A pardon is an official statement of forgiveness of an offense, typically granted to an applicant who completed his or her sentence more than five years ago and who has demonstrated good cause for forgiveness.

A commutation is a reduction in an applicant’s sentence.

Executive Clemency Grants

  • Adam Braseel of Grundy County – Executive Action: Exoneration
  • Brandon Benson of Anderson County – Executive Action: Pardon
  • Nathaniel Boyd of Shelby County – Executive Action: Pardon
  • Relerford Brown of Fentress County – Executive Action: Pardon
  • Charles Diffie of South Carolina – Executive Action: Pardon
  • Zenobia Dobson of Knox County – Executive Action: Pardon
  • Michael Graham of Perry County – Executive Action: Pardon
  • Tina Jackson of Haywood County – Executive Action: Pardon
  • Eugene Lee of Florida – Executive Action: Pardon
  • Quantel Lindsey of Georgia – Executive Action: Pardon
  • Jasbir Mann of Massachusetts – Executive Action: Pardon
  • Kevin Nunley of Bedford County – Executive Action: Pardon
  • Charles Sanderfur of Davidson County – Executive Action: Pardon
  • Kenney Simpson of Sullivan County – Executive Action: Pardon
  • Mindy Dodd of Rutherford County – Executive Action: Commutation to immediate parole eligibility
  • Jamie Grimes of Davidson County – Executive Action: Commutation to immediate parole eligibility
  • Charles Hall of Shelby County – Executive Action: Commutation to parole eligibility upon completing certain programming

Additional information regarding clemency can be found on the Tennessee website.

Gov. Lee and the Tennessee Department of Correction also introduced a new policy for individuals seeking clemency for drug-free school zone offenses committed before Sept. 1, 2020, a release announced.

“This action follows legislation passed in the 2020 legislative session to reduce the school zone radius to 500 feet and to allow stiffer penalties only where vulnerable populations, such as children, were exposed to illicit drug activity,” a spokesperson said.

The newly introduced process will expedite the review of convictions of those sentenced under the prior law. This will determine whether their sentence will be reviewed under the new law.

According to officials, 335 individuals are incarcerated for drug-free school zone offenses that were committed prior to Sept. 1, 2020.

“To qualify, individuals must not have been involved in the sale or distribution to a minor or have incurred a drug-related disciplinary infraction within the past three years, including positive drug screens or dismissal from a treatment program,” officials said.

Individuals who meet the qualifying criteria may apply on the Tennessee website.

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