Leonard Peltier's first full parole hearing was held in 1993, at which time his case was continued for a 15-year reconsideration. On Wednesday, it was announced (in Portland, OR) that Mr. Peltier has recently applied for and been granted a parole hearing. The hearing is scheduled for July 27, 2009. All supporters are encouraged to step up their efforts in support of parole for Leonard Peltier.
Letters in Support of Parole
It is really important that everyone write letters in support of Leonard's petition for parole. These letters can be quite simple and should cover the basic points important for parole decisions. A sample letter follows. Feel free to use it, but know that it's even better if you write one in your own words. Be courteous and concise.
Get as many people to sign similar letters, as well. Carry a sheaf of spare letters with you. Get one signature per letter, that is, rather than using a petition format. Mail them to the Parole Commission, but also send copies to the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee (contact information below).
Guidelines for General Supporters
First, we ask that you sign the online at
Next, draft correspondence to the U.S. Parole Commission. A sample letter follows.
United States Parole Commission
5550 Friendship Boulevard
Chevy Chase, MD 20815-7286
Re: LEONARD PELTIER #89637-132
Convicted in connection with the deaths on June 26, 1975, of Ronald Williams and Jack Coler, agents of the Fe deral Bureau of Investigation, Mr. Leonard Peltier remains imprisoned at the United States Penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
The court record in this case clearly shows that government prosecutors have long held that they do not know who killed Mr. Coler and Mr. Williams nor what role Leonard Peltier "may have" played in the tragic shoot-out.
Further, in a decision filed by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals on December 18, 2002, Mr. Peltier's sentences "were imposed in violation of [Peltier's] due process rights because they were based on information that was false due to government misconduct," and, according to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, in 2003: ". Much of the government's behavior at the Pine Ridge Reservation and its prosecution of Leonard Peltier is to be condemned. The government withheld evidence. It intimidated witnesses. These facts are not disputed."
Despite these admissions, Leonard Peltier has served over 33 years in prison.
After careful consideration of the facts in Leonard Peltier's case, I have concluded that Leonard Peltier does not represent a risk to the public. First, Leonard Peltier has no prior convictions and has advocated for non-violence throughout his prison term. Furthermore, Leonard Peltier has been a model prisoner. He has received excellent
evaluations from his work supervisors on a regular basis. He continues to mentor young Native prisoners, encouraging them to lead clean and sober lives. He ha s used his time productively, disciplining himself to be a talented painter and an expressive
writer. Although Leonard Peltier maintains that he did not kill the agents, he has openly expressed remorse and sadness over their deaths.
Most admirably, Mr. Peltier contributes regular support to those in need. He donates his paintings to charities including battered women's shelters, half way houses, alcohol and drug treatment programs, and Native American scholarship funds. He also coordinates an annual holiday gift drive for the children of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Leonard Peltier is widely recognized for his good deeds and in turn has won several awards including the North Star Frederick Douglas Award; Federation of Labour (Ontario, Canada) Humanist of the Year Award; Human Rights Commission of Spain International Human Rights Prize; and 2004 Silver Arrow Award for Lifetime Achievement. Mr. Peltier also has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize six times.
Leonard Peltier is now over 60 years of age-a great-grandfather-and suffers from partial blindness, diabetes, a heart condition, and high blood pressure.
I recognize the grave nature of the events of June 26, 1975, and I extend my deepest sympathy to the families of those who died that day. However, I find aspects of this case to also be of concern and I believe Leonard Peltier deserves to be reunited with
his family and allowed to live the remaining years of his life in peace. I also believe that, rather than presenting a threat to the public, Mr. Peltier's release would help to heal a wound that has long impeded better relations between the federal government and American Indians.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
(Your Street Address)
(Your City, State, and Zip Code)
For Family and Friends
As with any professional correspondence, your support letter should be on letterhead (if you have Microsoft Word or another similar program you can easily create professional-looking letterhead from a template). The letterhead should include all of your contact information including your name, address, phone number(s) and e-mail
address if applicable.
Describe your relationship with Leonard -- how do you know him, for how long, etc. Write about his character, and his accomplishments both before and during imprisonment. Discuss improvements made since being incarcerated such as education and his philanthropic work. Discuss Leonard's positive attitude and, despite his innocence,
the fact that he has openly expressed remorse and sadness over the deaths that occurred on June 26, 1975.
Finish your support letter by telling the Parole Board how you will support Leonard once he is granted parole. Your support might be financial, such as a place to live, use of a vehicle, or help finding job offers. Your support can also be emotional su ch as providing advice and encouragement.
IMPORTANT NOTE TO ALL SUPPORTERS: When you write a letter in support of Leonard's parole, mail the letter directly to the U.S. Parole Commission, but also please send a copy of your correspondence to the Peltier Legal Team, c/o LP-DOC, P.O. Box 7488, Fargo, ND 58106.
Time to set him free... Because it is the RIGHT thing to do.
Friends of Peltier
For more info on the case:
and the movie “Incident at Oglala”:
part one: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=387726205259162082
part two: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7478474397606955920