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 John Kucko: Little Mill Creek in Wayland, NY

Governor Hochul grants pardons and commutations to 16 New Yorkers

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Continues to Fulfill Commitment to Grant Clemency on a Rolling Basis

From the office of NY State Governor Kathy Hochul,

Builds on Governor’s Efforts to Reform Clemency Process, Including Convening an Advisory Panel of Impartial Experts, Dedicating Additional Staff Resources, and Increasing Communication with Applicants

Following Implementation of Procedural Reforms, Governor Hochul Has Granted Clemency to 36 Individuals in 2023, More Than Any Year in Her Term to Date

Governor Kathy Hochul today granted clemency to 16 individuals, including 12 pardons and four commutations. This action recognizes individuals demonstrating remorse, exemplifying rehabilitation, and displaying a commitment to improving themselves and their communities. This is the third time Governor Hochul has granted clemency this year as she continues to fulfill her commitment to review and act on clemency applications on a rolling basis, rather than only once at the end of the year. After implementing procedural reforms to the clemency process, Governor Hochul has granted clemency to 36 individuals in 2023, more than any year in her term to date.

“Through the clemency process, it is my solemn responsibility as Governor to recognize the efforts individuals have made to improve their lives and show that redemption is possible,” Governor Hochul said. “When I took office, I committed to improving this process and dedicated the resources needed to grant clemency on a rolling basis. My administration will continue working to ensure this process serves New Yorkers in the best way possible.”

These grants follow Governor Hochul’s commitment to dedicating additional staff resources to reviewing applications, which helps ensure this ongoing process can occur in a meaningful way and that every application can receive the thorough and timely attention it deserves.

The Governor’s Office has taken a number of steps to improve transparency and communication in the clemency process. The Executive Clemency Bureau has implemented a new policy of sending regular letters to individuals with clemency applications, informing them of their case status, and providing information about how to submit supplemental information in support of their applications. The Governor’s Office also launched an updated online web hub to assist clemency applicants with the application process; this hub includes newly created template clemency application forms for both pardons and commutations to provide prospective applicants with improved guidance about what information to include when they apply.

The Governor also convened a Clemency Advisory Panel comprised of impartial experts to assist in advising the Governor on clemency applications. Following recommendations from the Clemency Advisory Panel, Governor Hochul is granting pardons to 12 individuals who have convictions that are more than a decade old and commuting the sentences of four individuals.

Pardons

Vitaliy Dorum, 41, has lived a crime-free life for 19 years. He came to the United States as a teenager and has lived here for approximately 24 years. He is married to a United States citizen and has numerous family members, including a child, who are United States citizens. Mr. Dorum has worked as an accomplished software engineer. Mr. Dorum was convicted of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree in 2004. A pardon will help him pursue naturalization to become a United States citizen.

Andres Rivera, 43, has lived a crime-free life for 22 years. He came to the United States as a teenager, has lived here for more than 30 years, and has child who is a United States citizen. Mr. Rivera has worked for years in the property management industry. Mr. Rivera was convicted of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree in 2001. A pardon will help him pursue naturalization to become a United States citizen.

Donnell Reed, 55, has lived a crime-free life for 32 years. He is a United States citizen and military veteran, having first enlisted in the United States Army at age 19. He served on active duty and as a member of the reserves for several years before being honorably discharged. Mr. Reed has worked as a security manager and in various public service roles for local government agencies. Mr. Reed was convicted of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Fourth Degree in 1991. 

Miledys Jett, 54, has lived a crime-free life for 31 years. She came to the United States as a teenager and has lived here for more than 40 years. She is married to a United States citizen and has two children who are also United States citizens. Ms. Jett has worked as a caretaker in a nursing home for more than two decades. Ms. Jett was convicted of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree in 1992. A pardon will help her avert the threat of deportation so that she can remain in the United States with her family and community. 

Noel Watson, 60, has lived a crime-free life for 30 years. He came to the United States in his twenties and has lived here for more than 30 years. He is married to a United States citizen and has several family members, including children and siblings, who are United States citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents. Mr. Watson has worked as a mason and painter and is active in his local community. He was convicted of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree in 1993. A pardon will help him pursue naturalization to become a United States citizen.

Devon Cottman, 49, has lived a crime-free life for 23 years. He is a United States citizen, serves as the primary caretaker to his children, and operates a small business. He was convicted of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree in 2000. 

Holdemar Cruz, 41, has lived a crime-free life for 18 years. He is a United States citizen. He works as an electrician and is a caretaker to his children. He was convicted of Criminal Possession of Controlled Substance in the Fourth Degree in 2005.

Bernardo Encarnacion, 70, has lived a crime-free life for 20 years. He has lived in the United States for approximately 25 years and has two children who are United States citizens. He worked in the food services industry for more than 15 years. He is now retired and receives important care and support from his family in the United States. Mr. Encarnacion was convicted of Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree in 2003 and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree in 1999. A pardon will help him pursue naturalization to become a United States citizen.

Justin Riley, 31, has lived a crime-free life for 14 years. He is a United States citizen. Since his conviction, he has maintained employment and, with his partner, helps support their children. Mr. Riley was convicted of Attempted Burglary in the Third Degree in 2009 for an offense committed when he was 16 years old. 

Jose Antonio Reyes, 48, has lived a crime-free life for 25 years. He is a United States citizen. He operates a small business and, with his partner, helps support their child. Mr. Reyes was convicted of Attempted Burglary in the Second Degree in 1998.

Warren Stewart, 42, has lived a crime-free life for 13 years. He came to the United States when he was a teenager, has lived here for approximately 28 years, and has immediate family members who are United States citizens. Mr. Warren works as an ironworker and is active in his family and local community. Mr. Stewart was convicted of Burglary in the Second Degree in 2010. A pardon will help him avert the threat of deportation and pursue naturalization to become a United States citizen.

Kayode Oseni, 33, has lived a crime-free life for 13 years. He came to the United States when he was six years old and has now lived here for most of his life. He is married to a United States citizen and they have a young child who is also a United States citizen. Since his conviction, he has earned an Associate’s Degree and a Bachelor’s Degree and has maintained employment. He is active in his local community and helps care for his mother. Mr. Oseni was convicted of Robbery in the First Degree in 2010 for an offense occurring when he was 18 years old. A pardon will help him avert the threat of deportation so that he can remain in the United States with his family and community. 

Commutations

Alexander Dockery, 54, was convicted of Burglary in the Second Degree, Burglary in the Third Degree, Attempted Burglary in the Second Degree, and Criminal Trespass in the Second Degree between 2000 and 2002. These convictions stem from burglaries of unoccupied apartments in which nobody was physically harmed. Mr. Dockery was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, of which he has served close to 23 years. When he began his sentence, he had not yet completed a high school education; while incarcerated, he has earned a G.E.D, Associate’s Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, and Master’s Degree through Bard College and the New York Theological Seminary. Mr. Dockery now serves as an assistant and tutor with New York University’s Prison Education Program, helping other incarcerated individuals achieve educational success. Upon release, Mr. Dockery will live with his family and intends to pursue a Ph.D.

Eric Davidson, 54, was convicted of Burglary in the Second Degree and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree in 2012. He was sentenced to 16 years to life in prison, of which he has served close to 14 years. During his incarceration, Mr. Davidson completed pre-college education programs before going on to earn an Associate’s Degree. He is now studying toward the completion of a Bachelor’s Degree program and continues to achieve academic success. He has had his writing published in a literary journal and has been selected to participate in programs for academically accomplished incarcerated individuals. Mr. Davidson serves as clerk of the honor block at his facility, and has worked as a library clerk and as a program aide helping other incarcerated individuals prepare for successful re-entry to their communities. Under his original sentence, Mr. Davidson would be eligible for parole in 2026. Mr. Davidson’s sentence is being commuted to allow him an earlier opportunity to appear before the Parole Board so that the board can make a determination about whether he is suitable for parole.

Michael Young, 64, was convicted of Robbery in the First Degree, Attempted Robbery in the First Degree, and Robbery in the Second Degree in 2004 and 2005. He was sentenced to 45 years in prison, of which he has served more than 20 years. While incarcerated, Mr. Young has earned an Associate’s Degree and a Bachelor’s Degree, and plans to pursue a Master’s Degree. He has also encouraged other incarcerated individuals to pursue their education. Mr. Young has been a leader in his faith community, earning recognition as a mentor to others. Under his original sentence, Mr. Young would eligible for parole in 2041, when he would be over 80 years old. Mr. Young’s sentence is being commuted to allow him an earlier opportunity to appear before the Parole Board so that the board can make a determination about whether he is suitable for parole. 

Trevell Coleman, 49, was convicted of Murder in the Second Degree in 2012. Mr. Coleman’s conviction stems from an offense he committed in 1993, when he was 18 years old. It was considered a cold case until 2010, when Mr. Coleman, on his own volition, walked into a police precinct and confessed to the crime, explaining that he had been consumed by guilt about what he had done. Mr. Coleman was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison, of which he has served 13 years. During his incarceration, he has earned an Associate’s Degree, facilitated violence prevention and sobriety counseling programs and participated in a variety of additional educational, rehabilitative, and vocational programming. Mr. Coleman’s clemency application is now supported by the assistant district attorney who handled his prosecution as well as the judge who sentenced him. Under his original sentence, Mr. Coleman would be eligible for parole in 2025. Mr. Coleman’s sentence is being commuted to allow him an earlier opportunity to appear before the Parole Board so that the board can make a determination about whether he his suitable for parole.

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