December 21, 2013

Jenner & Block Partner Jessica R. Amunson’s work to secure executive clemency for pro bono client Jesse Websteris highlighted in a lengthy New York Times article about Mr. Webster.  Titled “A Dealer Serving Life Without Having Taken One,” the article explains that Mr. Webster is a non-violent offender serving life without parole for his 1995 conviction on charges of drug conspiracy and filing false tax returns during the “peak of mandatory sentencing” laws.  Jessie first came to represent Mr. Webster in 2009, along with Partner Barry Levenstam, in a Seventh Circuit appeal from the denial of Mr. Webster’s habeas petition.  When Mr. Webster’s appeals were exhausted, Jessie worked with Mr. Webster to prepare a petition for commutation of his sentence and to secure supporters for the petition.  Along with Associate Caroline M. DeCell, Jessie submitted Mr. Webster’s commutation application to the Office of the Pardon Attorney at the Justice Department in September of last year.  As the article notes, Mr. Webster’s sentencing judge, The Honorable James B. Zagel, wrote a letter in support of the petition, as did the former Assistant United States Attorneys who prosecuted Mr. Webster.  While President Obama declined to commute Mr. Webster’s sentence in the latest round of clemency grants issued on December 19, 2013, Mr. Webster’s petition remains pending with the Office of the Pardon Attorney and the President.