It is with heavy hearts we inform you that of the 61 persons Rick Snyder pardoned or commuted their sentence, Fred Freeman was not one of them.
Had he taken a plea deal, Fred would have been out after 10 years. He could not in good conscious accept that for the simple reason that it wasn't true. Fred did not kill Scott Macklem and he wasn't going to get out because of a lie. For his integrity, he has now spent almost 3 and 1/2 times what he would have received if he had only said what they wanted him to say.
In Michigan the process is that the governor goes through a list of recommendations given him by the parole board. But executive clemency is supposed to be outside of the system, a fail-safe for when the court system just doesn't seem to be able to get it right. It is regrettable that the parole board recommended to Snyder that Freeman's petition be denied without giving a single reason. It is regrettable that when a FOIA request was put in twice for the documents which accompanied their "recommendation", the only thing received was the petition written by the Michigan Innocence Clinic, who asked for his release. And we're supposed to believe that the parole board recommended he be denied and then attached a document arguing the opposite? One wonders if Snyder was even shown the letters from Levin (US Senate, retired), Chang (MI House), and two from Bieda (MI Senate) or the nearly 1,000 persons who signed a petition to Synder asking for him to be pardoned.
We will continue to shake our heads in utter disgust that a man can be convicted, denied parole and may spend 80% of his life behind bars when there was no credible evidence presented at trial, nor does any exist, All real evidence points to his complete, actual innocence. But we will keep our heads up as we work for a criminal justice system that we can be proud of because it is ethical and trustworthy. We have a long, long way to go.
Anyone can be wrongfully convicted. Please join our journey and make a difference.