Paul Free is coming HOME!!!


Marijuana lifer Paul Free granted clemency by President Obama

Marijuana lifer Paul Free granted clemency by President Obama

Well, I signed my clemency papers. It is official now and there is nothing Trump can do about it.

They locked everything down after lunch so they could call us up, unit by unit, to receive our “Christmas Packages”  ( a bag with about $15 – $20 worth of candy and cookies) and when I was in line I saw the Warden sitting at a table and he motioned me over.

He went through and told me what each document was one-by-one. Miss Ortiz saw me at lunch and asked if it “had set in yet” to which I replied “yes, little by little.” But when I saw that gold seal and Obama’s signature (wow! what a cool signature) I about blew it. Somehow I was able to sign my name and date what I was supposed to. I doubt if that signature looks anything like the one I usually make.

Then the Warden asked if I wanted to read the letter that Obama wrote and I said: “No thank you, I need to go – I am about to cry like a baby.”

Miss Ortiz smiled and laughed a bit and the Warden handed me my papers and a special envelope that came “From the White House” to carry it all in and I left.

Back in my cell I read it all. The letter is addressed: “Dear Paul…” OK, we are on a first-name basis; how cool. My man…

Out of the more than 100 people who received clemency last Monday, only three of us got Obama’s direction to the BOP that the last year be spent “in prerelease custody.” I asked what that is and was told that will allow me to get my passport and other things together so I can leave. In my clemency petition I informed them that I have every intention of returning to Mexico as soon as possible. And the attorney the Clemency Project appointed for me wrote a fantastic memorandum and supplement regarding Mexico which stated, in part:

Corvain Cooper with fellow Marijuana Lifer Paul Free, at USP Atwater

Paul Free with fellow Marijuana Lifer Corvain Cooper at USP Atwater

“Mr. Free does not have specific release residence plans yet. Most of his family is gone, but his brother (Charles Free) still has a ranch in Mexico. His brother is his only remaining family, and he is very willing to let Mr. Free move in. When Mr. Free finishes his Supervised Release, he plans to move into the ranch with his brother where he will resume teaching. Meanwhile he will actively seek work and housing while living in the halfway house prior to his release.

She went on to ask that my Supervised Release be commuted “all or a large part” and this designation, that I spend the last year in “prerelease custody” will mean that in less than four years I will be free, totally free, once again.

I was told I will not qualify for the “one-year off for taking the “RDAP” Program as I do not qualify for the program as I have constantly maintained, since my arrest that I had no drug or alcohol “problems.”

That brings to mind a line I had in a play: That Championship Season” which is about a high school basketball team who meet every year after graduation with their coach to drink and reminisce. After a decade or so some have become successful, some not. Tom, the part I got to play, had become an alcoholic and the philosopher of the group. Anyway, the one line I loved was when I (Tom) was asked: “Do you have a drinking problem, Tom?” to which I responded: “Problem, no problem, I get all the booze I want.”

Well, I don’t know just why that popped into my mind but…. it did. So, I shall make copies of these papers and send them to you. They are quite impressive.