Supporters urge clemency for LaShonda Hall

When President Donald Trump granted clemency to several individuals on Feb. 18, he included three women who were in prison for non-violent offenses. There are still many more who deserve clemency, according to their supporters. That includes LaShonda Hall.

"She wants to let others who are going through what she went through know they have other options," said a letter of support from Alice Marie Johnson, a prison reform advocate and former federal inmate who served five years in prison with Hall. "LaShonda wants them to know that it is not worth the pain and grief that her family has endured because of mistakes like hers."

Hall, 45, is a first-time non-violent offender, convicted of conspiracy, money laundering, and aiding and abetting. She was sentenced to 45 years and 8 months in prison, and she is 11 years into her sentence.

She was denied clemency by the previous administration.

According to Johnson, Hall's story started with an abusive relationship and moved to a new man who told her he was involved in real estate. About a year into the relationship, she learned that her new beau was a drug dealer. One of his associates told her to pick up some money and a note for her boyfriend. She rewrote notes to make them more legible and on his request, deposited money into his account. "She realizes and admits that she was wrong for her participation," Johnson wrote.

Following her arrest, the prosecutor charged Hall with conspiracy and offered to drop the charges if she testified against her boyfriend, and she refused. The next day, the prosecution added more charges. After her conviction, she was sentenced to 45 years, on a first offense.

In advocating for Hall to receive clemency, Johnson, who was granted clemency by Trump in 2018,  wrote that Hall has taken responsibility for her part in what happened, earned her GED, and has taken college-level courses including psychology and computer programming.

Hall has the support of the African American Mayors  Association, the CAN-DO Foundation, family, friends, and her community.  She would reconnect with her son, who was 11 when she went to prison, and would be a positive community influence, said Johnson.

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