Michigan Chronicle Editorial: Kwame Kilpatrick 'Deserves to Be Set Free'

March 18, 2020, 12:52 AM

The convict who was mayor from 2002-08.


The Michigan Chronicle is calling for President Trump to free ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick in an editorial headlined: "It’s Time for Kwame to Come Home."

The Chronicle, which serves the African American community, writes:  

No one is arguing Kilpatrick did not engage in corrupt activities and violated the oath of his office. He did. And is being held accountable for his actions like a public official should.

However, as Detroit Free Press columnist Brian Dickerson noted in a column last month:
“Reasonable people can and do believe that the 28-year-sentence U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds imposed was unreasonably harsh, and that white elected officials accused of similar corruption have negotiated plea deals far more lenient than the one Kilpatrick was offered.”

That’s not just conjecture.

Many defense attorneys agree the sentence was excessive, but the editorial plays a little loose with the facts when it says the ex-mayor has served nearly a decade. He was sentenced in October 2013 and has served about 6 1/2 years in federal prison. 

The editorial page writers aren't the only ones advocating his release. Last month, state House Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, D-Detroit, gave President Trump a letter she hoped would bolster a commutation request submitted by Kilpatrick last year. She told Deadline Detroit that the president "seemed familiar with the request and I believe he said he'd look into it."

The final decision is up to Trump.

The Chronicle editorial goes on:

You have people convicted of murder receiving lighter sentences than the former mayor who was also a school teacher, lawyer and former state representative and had never been in trouble with the law before.

By any objective measure, his sentence was in fact, excessive. It is way out of proportion not only to the actual crimes he was convicted of but to the sentences handed down to similarly situated public officials like Kerik, Blagojevich, and even former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell – sentenced to 2 years on public corruption charges. All of these men are currently home either via the appeals process or because of commutation.

Detroit has moved on since those dark days. The former mayor has expressed his deep remorse for the immature and nihilistic behavior that got him into trouble in the first place. It’s time to put this whole chapter behind us once and for all.

Archive coverage:

► Lengel: Why Kwame Kilpatrick's 28-Year Sentence Is Still Ridiculous, March 3, 2018

Read more:  Michigan Chronicle

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