Category Archives: Legal Updates

Parole Reconsideration Denied & Pursuing Clemency

The continued incarceration of Dr. Mutulu Shakur is representative of the failure of our criminal justice system in working towards the stated goal of rehabilitation. Now more than ever it is clear that Dr. Shakur is being held for punitive purposes.  On November 28, 2016, months after filing a petition for reconsideration regarding the denial of parole, the National Appeals Board issued a response upholding the denial of release.  This underscores the importance of Executive Clemency as a potential avenue for justice.  Legal counsel for Dr. Shakur contend that he is being unjustly held by the Federal Bureau of Prisons past his “mandatory parole” date.  Barack Obama has until January 20, 2017 to step in and ensure that justice is upheld.  

Documents recently released by the Parole Commission in response to a Freedom of Information Act request show that in the past two years no other federal prisoner has been denied parole because of the types of infrequent non-serious prison rule violations Dr. Shakur is being held for.  Dr. Shakur has served over thirty years in custody, been unjustly denied parole eight times in a documented discriminatory manner, despite taking full responsibility for his actions and serving as a force for good throughout his decades of incarceration.

Thousands of signatures from the public supporting his clemency, as well as numerous testimonials from individuals with direct experience of his character show vast public support for his freedom.  The White House public comment line is closed for the remainder of Obama’s term in office, but you can still make your support for clemency heard by emailing [email protected] or at  Tweets can be directed @POTUS or @BarackObama.

Petition for Executive Clemency Filed

The week of October 10th, a petition for clemency for Dr. Mutulu Shakur was submitted to President Barack Obama. The review will be conducted during the months of October and November. Effective January 1, 2017, President Barack Obama will cede his authority to the incumbent presidential candidate.

The acts of which Dr. Shakur stands convicted were committed in the context of a movement some forty to fifty years ago seeking equal treatment of black people who, it is widely recognized today, were suffering catastrophically from disenfranchisement, poverty and exclusion from many of the fundamental necessities that make life worth living. Black school children were being killed in church bombings. Black and other civil rights leaders were targeted for assassination. Law enforcement, through the COINTELPRO program, infiltrated a wide range of organizations and civil rights groups disrupting their activities and, as Congressional investigation later discovered, often causing violent reactions. In that era, black youth were paralyzed with fear that smothered their dreams, they doubted their life expectancy, and were forced to submit to abuse, runaway or challenge the threat.

Dr. Shakur has served over thirty years in custody, been unjustly denied parole eight times in a documented discriminatory manner, taken full responsibility for his actions, served as a force for good and alternative dispute mechanisms throughout his decades of incarceration, is an elder with multiple health complications, and has a loving family that needs him, even moreso after his former wife, Afeni Shakur, passed away in May. Upon release, he will continue to inspire people to seek self-improvement through peaceful and constructive means, as he has done while incarcerated, as he did with his late son Tupac.

In his own words, “For many years I have been a staunch advocate for the establishment of a truth and reconciliation process to address issues of racial and economic disparities. I have been influenced by examples in South Africa, Latin America, Northern Ireland and here in the United States of efforts at restorative justice through the pursuit of truth and reconciliation …

I cannot undo the violence and tragedy that took place more than thirty years ago. But for several decades while incarcerated I have dedicated myself to being a healer, spreading a message of reconciliation and justice, and playing a positive role in the lives of those I come into contact with, in and out of prison …

This country is not the same country it was at the time of my conviction and I have lived long enough to understand the changes the country and I have undergone. I will always care about freedom and equality for black Americans, marginalized people and the lower classes in this country and abroad. The struggle was never about me, but for the will of the people.

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Please sign and pass it on.

Due to the political nature of the era and the case, the display of significant political and social support is required. If you want to support Dr. Shakur with congressional, faith based or media related contacts please write to us directly at [email protected].

People who support Dr. Mutulu Shakur. People who are aware of his works and share similar ideals and values. People who believe in Truth and Reconciliation and constitutional Due Process.

Visit, then add your signature with your email address or Facebook account. Please share the petition with your connections.

Dr. Shakur responds to Denial of Release Notice

The following quotes are from the April 20th Notice of Action confirming the denial of mandatory parole for Dr. Shakur.  Below he responds:

“You have violated the rules of the institution on 5 occasions:

– Use of drugs on June 11, 1990”

Although the 100-series “use of drugs” infraction is 27 years old, we acknowledge its serious nature. I have continually contested it as being a false-positive; there exists no other indication of the “use of drugs,” either before or after, during my 32 years of incarceration while being subjected to regular urine analysis. Further, I have repeatedly requested alternative means of testing and was denied; the corporation, “Pharm Chemical” responsible for urine sample analysis has since been dissolved based on high incidence of false positives.

“- Abuse of telephone privileges on April 24, 2001 and on May 9, 2007. You were found guilty of contacting the public without authorization on May 9, 2007 and again on February 6, 2013, which involved you making a call to give a speech that was broadcast to a group of more than 200 people attending a symposium.”

The most recent telephone infraction was the result of a U.C. Northridge symposium, where I addressed students on the theory of T.R.C. The above infractions that the commission relies on have previously been reviewed by the B.O.P. None of these infractions indicate violent behavior or criminal conduct.

“Additionally, you take no responsibility for the crimes for which you were convicted. Information on your website, including your writings and in a recent letter you wrote to your supporters in 2014 indicates you routinely refer to yourself as a freedom fighter, a political prisoner, and the “victim” of government’s counter-intelligence program.”

The origins of the Commission’s references are ambiguous and we are not sure of what specific “written statements” they refer to. None of their references represent a threat to society or the government, or to indicate potential to re-offend; and they are insignificant as a factor of my rehabilitation. However, they are in fact evidence of the exercise of my constitutionally protected right to freedom of speech.

“Further you end most of your writings with the salutation ‘Stiff Resistance’, a phrase which is also prominent on your webpage. The commission not only finds these statements incompatible with the goals and conditions of parole supervision, but also concludes they are evidence that you have not disavowed yourself from the same set of beliefs you had when you were convicted for your role as leader in a Racketeering Conspiracy.”

The RICO Racketeering conspiracy may have been politically motivated, but my beliefs were not criminal. I was indicted and convicted of specific criminal acts; for which I have been held accountable and still harbor a great deal of remorse over. As well, the Commission designated my case as “original Jurisdiction” based on the political interest and the Government’s assertion that the acts for which I was convicted were politically motivated. The Commission does not rely on any evidence of criminal conduct or propagation within their denial.

See also “The Stigma of Stiff Resistance”

2016 Legal Update on Denial of Release

Dear family and friends and supporters,

Like many of you, I was of the belief that I was to be released from prison, effective February 10, 2016. That belief was based on the 30 years I was required to serve. I have fulfilled that commitment while following all rules and regulations like any other prisoner would be expected to. Having been sentenced under federal statute 4205(a), any person serving more than 45 years must serve 30 years to receive mandatory release.

For the past 30 years my target release date has been February 10, 2016. Whosoever had legitimate concerns had the same time to come forward to argue that I should not be released.

To deny me release at this stage the Parole Commission must determine that I have either “repeatedly or seriously violated the rules of the institution, or there exists a great probability that the inmate will commit any federal, state or local crime following his release.”

The Parole Commission’s function is now limited in scope. The idea is that the society as a whole is represented by the Parole Commission. Hopefully the broader society has embraced a willingness to heal and move towards reconciliation. We have an obligation to ensure that the Parole Commission’s process is informed, fair, impartial and as unbiased as possible.

Many of the individuals that have opposed my release and question my resolve to be a productive member of society have had the benefit of mainstream media to project their views. I have endured the disadvantage of not having that benefit. My story has not been heard through the mass media. But I hope my call for reconciliation has been heard by some, and has had an impact, especially on young people.

What we have been tasked with is difficult and victory will have been hard fought. This is yet another stage of the struggle, but also an opportunity for our voices to be heard. I am hoping your messages can be shared with the Parole Commission as it makes a decision regarding my release or further incarceration.

Incarceration can be a catalyst to produce individuals that emerge with a newfound moral compass. I have been privileged to witness that growth and development in many other prisoners throughout my incarceration. As a result, there have been many good works produced, both inside and outside of these walls.

I would not be who I am today without all of you and I can only hope to have been a positive influence in your lives and in the lives of young men who have been incarcerated with me. It will be helpful to gather your thoughts and memories of our experience, and to share your sincere observations with the Parole Commission.

Please feel free to circulate this letter and my request to others who have had similar experiences that they would like to share.

Please address letters to the Parole Commission [specific instructions are below] but email them to both my attorney Peter Schey at [email protected] and my family at [email protected] for review before they are forwarded to the Board.  I will not be personally reviewing letters.

My son Tupac acknowledged in the context of the struggle to overcome oppression that, “we’ve come so far, but still have so far to go …” To that I say, we must continue to be guided by the essence of our circumstances that has brought us to these points; which encourage us to be principled, honest and continue to search for the truth

Brotha Kendrick Lamar taught us “to pimp a butterfly.” From that we must always remember that we can evolve and to have faith in the power of transformation, that has been evident throughout the saga of our journey.

I thank you in advance for your continued love and support.

-Dr. Mutulu Shakur





(A) A prisoner (including a prisoner sentenced under the narcotic addict rehabilitation act, federal juvenile delinquency act, or the provision of 5010(c) of the youth correction act) serving a term or terms of five years or longer shall be released on parole after completion of two-thirds of each consecutive term or terms or after completion of thirty years of each term or terms of more than 45 years (including life terms), whichever comes earlier, unless pursuant to a hearing under this section, the commission determines that there is a reasonable probability that the prisoner will commit any federal, state, or local crime or that the prisoner has frequently or seriously violated the rules of the institution in which he is confined. If parole is denied pursuant to this section, such prisoner shall serve until the expiration of his sentence less good time.


(B) When feasible, at least 60 days prior to the scheduled two-thirds date, a review of the record shall be conducted by an examiner panel. If a mandatory parole is ordered following this review, no hearing shall be conducted.



(A) Upon receipt of a progress report from the institution prior to the “two-thirds” date, an examiner panel shall conduct a record review. A recommendation to parole normally should be made in order to provide a period under supervision for all except those who have the greatest probability that they will commit any federal, state, or local crime following release. A parole should not be recommended, however, for prisoners who have seriously or frequently violated the rules of the institution.


(B) Unless mandatory parole is ordered on the basis of the record review, the case should be placed on the next hearing docket for a mandatory parole hearing. If the regional commissioner disagrees with a panel recommendation to grant mandatory parole on the record, he may order that the case be heard as originally scheduled. If paroles not recommended following such hearing, the examiner panel may recommend any such action as may be appropriate.


(B) The commission shall furnish the eligible prisoner with a written notice of its determination not later than twenty-one days, excluding holidays, after the date of the parole determination proceeding if parole is denied such notice shall state with particularity the reason for such denial.


(C) The commission may grant or deny release on parole notwithstanding the guidelines referred to in subsection (a) of this section if it determines there is good cause for so doing: provided, that the prisoner is furnished written notice stating with particularity the reason for its determination, including a summary of the information relied upon.


*Italics indicate my emphasis




Section 4206(D) should be interpreted in connection with statutory framework of the parole act. The act provides for both discretionary and mandatory parole. An inmate with a life sentence becomes eligible for parole after serving 10 years in prison. Section 4205(a) release may be granted in the commission’s discretion based on a variety of factors, including the seriousness of the offense, whether the individual has substantially observed the rules of the institution, and whether parole would jeopardize the public welfare Section 4206(a). If parole is denied, the prisoner receives additional discretionary parole consideration every two years.


Under Section 4206(d) the commission (must) parole an inmate who served 30 years (unless) it determines he has seriously or frequently violated institution rules and regulations or…there is a reasonable probability that he will commit another crime. (This is crucial…) In establishing different criteria for discretionary and mandatory parole, congress necessarily intended the commission view the grant of mandatory parole under section 4206(d) through a different and more lenient lens than discretionary parole.


The legislative history of the act supports this view. This section provides more liberal criteria for release than the discretionary parole provision and requires the commission to consider efforts that the prisoner may have made to improve his education, skills, or personal attributes.


Surely, a prisoner who was granted a “discretionary parole” – even though now taken away – is even more eligible to be released on mandatory parole after they have served 30 years. Anyone sentenced 45 years or more, including those sentenced to any life term or other terms, who has not been released by any other applicable laws shall be released after the service of two-thirds or 30 years of such sentence. The math is computed on the basis that 45=30.




If you are able to write a parole support letter, please address it to the Parole Board (Case Operations, U.S. Parole Commission, 90 K Street, N.E., Third Floor, Washington, D.C. 20530), but please ONLY email them to [email protected] and [email protected] so that they arrive as soon as possible and no later than March 7th to be reviewed. Because the Commission considers whether there is a reasonable probability that he will commit another crime this can be addressed in your letter.


  • Please type on letterhead
  • Date the letter
  • Add a subject line such as “In regards to: Dr. Mutulu Shakur #83205-012”
  • Begin your letter with “Dear Honorable Members of the Parole Board:”
  • Include biographical information such as your name, age, occupation (if you have been employed in the same field for some time, note that in your first paragraph) and relationship with Dr. Shakur or how you know him.
  • Describe why you believe he deserves the chance for parole, such as positive activities while incarcerated such as education and mentoring other inmates, as well as his positive attitude.
  • Mention if there is any specific way(s) you intend to provide support once he is granted parole (housing, employment, healthcare, etc.).
  • Generally, these are the subjects that letter writers may want to cover:
  1. Include a short acknowledgment about Mutulu’s conviction. Basically that the author knows that he was arrested in 1986 and eventually convicted of conspiracy to commit serious and violent crimes based on circumstantial and informant testimony. The prosecution never argued that these crimes were committed for greed or personal gain. Letters should not defend or justify the alleged conduct that led to the convictions, but in the writer’s own words acknowledge that s/he is aware of the conviction and the severity of the allegations.
  2. Explain that these are different historical times and for many years while in prison Mutulu has never engaged in illegal or violent conduct. He has maintained relationships with family, friends and colleagues outside the prison. He has suffered a stroke while in prison in February 2013. He has also throughout his prison term maintained a commitment to the struggle for justice for people of color.
  3. If Mutulu is released, he will be a productive member of society. He’ll contribute to efforts to help the poor and those who are marginalized. He is highly unlikely to violate the terms of parole.  He will in no way be a threat to the public safety.

U.S. Parole Commission Rejects Examiner’s Recommendation

To: My comrades, family and extended family- please distribute to all those who have given support and resources to this process may (Allah) God bless them.  In the spirit of our ancestors, I deeply thank you.

Written: September 16, 2014

On September 15, 2014, I received a notice of action from the national appeals board rejecting the parole examiner’s recommendation to advance my release to April 2015. This denial or rejection of the examiner’s onsite opinion and recommendation is not the first time that we have had this experience dealing with the national parole commission. We obviously, as per required historical practice, will appeal this rejection as it indicates we have rejected the basis of their decision and conclusion. The attorneys and I, and our administrative support group, are already on task.

We are very, very excited and in awe of how our mobilization carried out this parole hearing. There has been a ground swell of various people living up to their commitments and words by responding to our request for specific support, contacts, resources and finances that gave this hearing character, integrity and principles that history will charge the parole decision was not justified or warranted.

Lets look at where we are; the advance April 2015 date in actuality would advance my release date by 6 months, according to their faulty calculations* (I was supposed to be released in 2011). Six months is very important, and we do not take the denial of this relief lightly, but I am political prisoner. Our expectation for justice is not the paradigm, we seek relief and we wait for justice. Do to their undo process in their calculations, 2016 will be my presumptive release date if I continue as i have for these last 30 years. Evade the traps, set-ups, and tolerate the political targeting there should be no legal or policy rationale to deny that release date which is February 2016. Using this date as a process start, I should be seen by the parole commission 9 months from said date, which will be May 2015. As I told all of you before I am an old alligator, I will survive in mud and water, with your duwahs and prayers.

In the interim, we have been in the parallel mode building for a pardon application that is not based upon procedure but on tact, strategy, political capital and timing. This is not the place to divulge every nuance, but I am requesting all those who have supported me for the many parole request to now support me for the pardon unless you have formed a political objection!! This pardon is based upon a Truth and Reconciliation Commission narrative, and as far as I can tell this will be the first opportunity for the movement of our era to apply and request such. Most of our support has been based on this narrative; we stand on principled ground. Many of the present events are suggesting such relief, and we surely can support other political prisoners of our movement by advancing the strategy.

I hope during this extended time period all those that can help me to get published the various books in our struggle, that I have the information in history to present, also to allow me to build on the cultural genres that will help uplift our future generations. I am committed to this task; I want to thank my family for their sacrifices in my struggle.

In closing, do not feel discouraged, we have done a great job; it has the making and capability to advance a new paradigm. Let’s stay busy. Let’s stay encouraged, let’s be creative and have the audacity to put into the ether a just cause, deserving just results. I thank every single one of you; everyone’s contribution was exactly what we needed. When we said that we did the best we could, we meant every word. Plan on hearing from me in the very near future.

Aim high and go all out.
Stiff resistance
Dr. Mutulu Shakur
(Thank you all!!!)

Upcoming Parole Hearing: August 2014

Family and Friends of Dr. Mutulu Shakur are preparing for the next parole hearing which is scheduled for August 2014.  Dr. Shakur will have spent almost 30 years incarcerated at that point.  There is no doubt in our minds that he is ready to return to life outside of prison and be a productive member of society.  Stay tuned for updates.

Preparation for the parole hearing involves considerable legal expenses.  Please consider making a donation to help with the costs.

Dr. Mutulu Shakur’s 2012 Legal Update

On Thursday the 26th of July, I had the parole board hearing at 8 am. Both attorneys were there: James Simmons and Nana Gyamfe from LA.

We were able to expand the record as to the new disclosure that disproved the commissions finding on many issues. This hearing was a statutory interim hearing and the objective was to demonstrate new information or law that was not on the prior records. I believe that I accomplished said goals, but the examiner was not willing to make a recommendation to reopen the case.

All issues as to my status must be ruled on in Washington by the national parole board, so a final decision is forthcoming. They have not ruled in my favor in the past, but we have put forth a sustainable record for them to review.

We are still in the 2nd circuit waiting for a decision from the second circuit judge a rule 35A to correct the sentences. We are also in the process of preparing a pardon application to President Obama.

So as you can see there are still possibilities to get some relief, for without struggle surely we can’t expect to have victory … so I thank you all who have done anything to help me in this fight for my freedom. We will not lose faith in our ability to overcome injustices.

Aim high and go all out!
Stiff resistance!

Thank you all,
Mutulu Shakur

Dr. Mutulu Shakur’s 2008 Legal Update

TO: Friends and Supporters of Dr. Mutulu Shakur

FROM: Teri Thompson, Attorney

RE: Interim Parole Hearing – December 2007

The Interim Parole Hearing for Dr. Shakur was held on December 11, 2007 at USP-Florence ADMAX. Mutulu and I thank each of you for your letters, prayers and support. Below is my report of the Hearing.

[History of the Case]

Federal law provides, in relevant part, that a federal inmate who is eligible for parole may be released on parole after completion of one-third of his prison term or after 10 years of any sentence over 30 years. Dr. Shakur was eligible for parole in 1996. However, his efforts to have a parole hearing in 1996 were blocked by various forces.

In 2002, an Initial Parole Hearing was finally convened. The Parole Commission denied parole to Dr. Shakur and ordered a 15 year reconsideration date. Therefore, Dr. Shakur is not eligible for parole reconsideration until 2017. We have always maintained that because of the 6 year delay, Dr. Shakur should be eligible for parole in 2011.

In 2004, we filed a Petition of Writ of Habeas Corpus in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia to address, inter alia, the six year delay in having a parole hearing (from 1996 to 2002). Despite our legal battles which ultimately took us to the United States Supreme Court, the highest court declined to hear our case in 2006.
Even though Dr. Shakur was given a 15 year “hit” in 2002, federal law provides Interim Parole Hearings every 2 years. In 2005, after the Interim Parole Hearing, the Parole Commission refused to acknowledge the 6 year delay, and maintained that Dr. Shakur would not be eligible again for parole until 2017.

[2007 Interim Parole Hearing]

On December 11, 2007,the Interim Parole Hearing was held at the country’s most isolated dungeon, USP-Florence, or “Supermax,” as it is commonly referred to, located in the mountains of Florence, Colorado. There is absolutely no human contact or interaction. In fact, our Hearing was held inside of an attorney’s booth; Dr. Shakur was separated by glass and handcuffed.

The Hearing Officer began by reciting the standard rules of Interim Parole Hearings: To determine whether there have been any rule changes and to review any and all “positive and negative adjustments” since the 2005 Interim Parole Hearing.

Ironically, the Hearing Officer commented that the recent allegations that are documented in the two disciplinary reports that Dr. Shakur received which resulted in his transfer to the Supermax facility were “minor infractions” in his opinion. He further stated that Dr. Shakur’s transfer to Supermax was also “not significant” and the fact that we were convened inside of the Supermax facility was not relevant to his decision.

We argued again for the record that the 6-year delay from 1996 to 2002 was unlawful and that Dr. Shakur should have a parole reconsideration date of 2011, rather than 2017. The Hearing Officer stated that he was bound by the previous decision of the Parole Commission.

We also argued that the recent allegations contained in the recent disciplinary reports were false and that we were actively appealing each allegation through all available administrative channels. We also maintained that the transfer to Supermax was unjustified.

We raised each of the positive contributions made by Dr. Shakur at USP-Atlanta and USP-Coleman, highlighting his continuous service to rebuilding men. We also covered his detailed plans for release and reentry into society.


While the Hearing Officer appeared attentive and impressed by our presentation, Interim Parole Hearings generally serve to review an inmate’s file and to determine whether there is enough evidence to modify the 15 year “hit.” The Hearing Officer noted that while he found no cause to change the previous decision, the final decision, referred to as a Notice of Action, will be released in approximately 30 days. We will appeal any adverse decision.
I have been proud to serve as Dr. Shakur’s attorney over the years despite the number of legal battlefields we have encountered. I encourage each of you to continue to support him in the midst of such times as these. Every single letter counts; I was proud to introduce over 20 letters from various supporters throughout the country and from all walks of life to the Hearing Officer. They will be a part of his file in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Shakur extends his gratitude and love to each one of you. Dr. Shakur remains a bulwark of strength and a never-ending diplomat for peace.


Dr. Shakur was sentenced in 1988 on charges of Conspiracy to aid bank expropriation as well as under the U. S. conspiracy laws known as “Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization” or ‘RICO’ laws (8 counts). The U.S. government alleged that Mutulu’s political associates constituted a racketeering enterprise. He was also charged with aiding in the escape of Assata Shakur (Joanne Chesimard). Prosecutors failed to provide key evidence such as electronic telephone interceptions, fingerprints, hair, or eyewitness identification of Mutulu at any crime scene by any third party, etc.

His efforts in the black community have been essential and liberating. Dr. Mutulu Shakur’s contributions include but are not limited to:
• Employment at the Lincoln Detoxification Community (addiction treatment) Program as acupuncturist, counselor, and political education instructor.
• Managing a detoxification program recognized as the largest and most effective of its kind by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, National Acupuncture Research Society and the World Academic Society of Acupuncture.
• Treating thousands of poor and elderly patients who would otherwise have no access to acupuncture treatment.
• Developing the anti-drug program for the Charles Cobb Commission for Racial Justice for the National Council of Churches.
• Dedicating his life and struggle against the political imprisonment of Black Political Activists.

Please take the time to recognize a leader in the community and help fight for his freedom. Address the letters to:
Edward F. Reilly Jr.
Chairman, U.S. Parole Commission
5550 Friendship Blvd, Suite 420
Chevy Chase, MD 20815-7201

Please include the federal government’s identification number for Dr. Shakur: 83205-012