Through Barbed Wire

Arnie King's Public Hearing Notes

On Tuesday, December 18, 2007, the Advisory Board of Pardons voted unanimously (6-0) to recommend the commutation of Arnie’s sentence to Governor Patrick! Thank you everyone for your continued support. This could not have been accomplished without you. Information on the next steps is forthcoming.

UPDATE: On Tuesday, December 16, 2008, we learned that Governor Deval Patrick denied Arnie's petition for commutation of sentence "at this time." Arnie will petition again.

Download Transcripts Download 2007 Hearing Transcripts (230K Word doc)
Download 2007 Board Decision Download 2007 Board Opinion (1.15 MB pdf)

Arnold L. King’s Commutation of Sentence Public Hearing on Thursday, October 25, 2007, was attended by well over 130 supporters across various states. The following are some comments from the hearing.

Hello All:
The meeting began at 10:25 am.  It started with the opening statements by Ed Berkin, Attorney and Arnie King, Petitioner.
Maureen Walsh, Chairperson, began the questioning and questions from other board members followed. The questions allowed for thoughtful, reflective responses from Arnie. He was eloquent with his answers and his sincerity was felt by all in the room. The board members were positive in their comments and there was a justifiable, hopeful spirit in the room.
Some of the comments made since the hearing:
"I believe this hearing was blessed by God."  (Marva)
"Arnie spoke with tremendous dignity..."  (Fran)
"My job is to work with boards....and we try to read where a board is coming from.  There wasn't a discouraging word that gave me reason for concern."  (Glenn)
" impression was that the parole board was very positive about all the work and effort Arnie has put into his activism over the years."  (Laura)
"Arnie's commitment to ending violence among young people came through so powerfully...The board seemed to really understand the importance of Arnie's work in the world.  That came through in many ways."  (Becky)
"I was impressed by Arnie's eloquence in speaking to a situation which is heart rendering not only for him but for his family, the family of the victim, and all involved at any level."  (Chuck)
There were over 150 people in attendance and unfortunately they could not all be in the main room that held only 60.  The remainder of supporters were in the overflow room which provided a video screen of the proceedings.
After the board finished questioning Arnie, the floor was opened for the following preselected speakers:
Group One:  Sven Bursell, Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School; Becky Thompson, Professor, Simmons College; Reebee Garofalo, Professor, U Mass, Boston
Group Two: Tony Irving, Free Lance Photographer, Youth Worker; Glenn Koocher, Executive Director, Mass. Association of School Committees (MASC); Renny Cushing, Executive Director, Murder Victims' Families For Human Rights
Group Three:  Sam Williams, Director of Operations, Unitarian Universalist Ministry; Nancy Murray, Director of Education ACLU; Reverend Ray Hammond, Minister of Bethel AME and Co-founder of 10 Point Coalition.
Group Four: Marion Messinger, Executive Director of City School; Former staff members of City School, Banjineh (Foundation Movement) and Ama (Bronx High School teacher)
Group Five: Laura Efron, Editor, What's Up Magazine; Cindy Miller, Professor, Emerson College
Group Six: Marva King, sister, EPA Project Manager and Ph.D. Student; Danny King, brother, former Delaware and Maryland Education and Program Director
Group Seven: Charles Ogletree, Professor, Harvard Law School and Executive Director of Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice.
Sister in law of (victim) John Labanara
Further comments were:
"From the first supporter, Harvard Medical Dr. Sven Bursell (who flew in from Hawaii that morning for the hearing) speaking for Arnold to the last supporter, Harvard Law Professor, Charles Ogletree the Board was told why each speaker believed Arnold met the "exceptional" criteria."  (Marva)
"...the testimony from Renny Cushing and Tony Irving was very powerful..." (Glenn)
"It was an honor to be amidst the multiracial, mixed class, inter-generational crowd that came together."  (Becky)
"The amount of love, respect and dedication in that room was so emotional for me.  It warmed my heart."  (Chris)
"I left believing in my heart that we will get a unanimous positive vote."  (Chuck)
Soffiyah Elijah, Attorney, closed with a wonderful summation.
I wanted to thank both Eddie and Soffiyah for the great job they did preparing and conducting Arnold's hearing.  I can't even imagine all the hard work they put into it for the hearing to end up so organized and effective."  (Marva)
"...I would like to say thank you to everyone who helped make the day.  People who became aware of Arnie's case and joined in the effort, staying the course over
the years... it was a great collective effort; bigger than any one person's efforts."  (Kazi) 
Letters of support can still be written to the Parole Board.  Please send to Maureen Walsh, Chairperson, Parole Board, 12 Mercer Road, Natick, MA 01760 and don't forget to CC Arnie.
The board advised that they would provide a decision within 12 weeks.  We will see that a copy of the transcript is available, soon, and then the board's opinion, once that becomes available to us.
The Commutation Workgroup

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Thank you for your ongoing support for Arnie King!

Please read and sign the petition to support Arnie King’s request for commutation of sentence