May 16, 2019 CONVENER’s CORNER
Statement of Nkechi Taifa, convener of Justice Roundtable, Regarding Pardon for Pat Nolan
The Justice Roundtable applauds the full pardon granted to Pat Nolan by the President yesterday. Nolan was the former Minority Leader of the California State Assembly who pled guilty in 1994 and accepted a 33 month sentence on charges of public corruption. Although advocating tough on crime policies while leader of the State Assembly, in prison he became proximate to many of the people who became victim to such harsh laws and upon release, became a strong advocate for smart on crime policies. Beginning in 2003 after passage of the Prison Rape Elimination Act, The Justice Roundtable’s Reentry Working Group under the leadership of Gene Guerrero worked very closely with Pat Nolan in a bipartisan fashion, leading to passage of the Second Chance Act. The Roundtable maintained a close working relationship with him through our Sentencing Reform Working Group’s advocacy on what became the Fair Sentencing Act. He also was extremely supportive of cases the Justice Roundtable advocated for during the Clemency Initiative of the Obama Administration. Pat Nolan’s leadership in effectively working across the aisle over a decade ago laid the basis for the bipartisanship that brought about the First Step Act. We congratulate his full pardon, and encourage the President to expeditiously grant many many more clemencies to people incarcerated under laws now agreed to be excessive and unjust, as well as pardons to those who have been released so they may fully become part of society.
Nkechi Taifa is the convener of the Justice Roundtable. An expert in the field of criminal justice, she is President and CEO of The Taifa Group, LLC.