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Aaron Glasscock has served more than 15 years in prison for a crime he said he didn’t commit. He has 11 more years to go, but that could change soon.
A new federal law took effect earlier this year that could result in Glasscock being released from prison sooner than expected.
In April, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a new clemency initiative for inmates who met six criteria:
- They are serving a federal sentence and would likely be serving a shorter sentence if convicted of the same offense today.
- They are non-violent offenders with no ties to large-scale criminal organizations, gangs or cartels.
- They have served at least 10 years of their sentence.
- They do not have significant criminal history.
- They have demonstrated good conduct in prison.
- They have no history of violence before or during their imprisonment.
Glasscock meets all six criteria, which means the remaining part of his sentence could be reduced from 11 years to five or six.
Glasscock is currently serving a 30-year sentence in a federal prison in Lexington.
In February, The Lebanon Enterprise published a news article on Glasscock. To make a long story short, in March of 1999, he was arrested and later convicted for helping his father distribute cocaine. However, he has always maintained his innocence.
The recent clemency initiative has made Glasscock hopeful - yet cautious - that his sentence will be reduced.
“There is that small voice of doubt that always loves to rear its ugly head,” Glasscock wrote in an email to the Enterprise. “That is because the reduction is not guaranteed. A motion must be filed to the sentencing court arguing how a reduction in my sentence would not impose a threat to public safety, diminish the seriousness of my offense, etc. I am in the process of preparing that motion now.”
For the past two years, Glasscock’s family and friends have been working to get a pardon issued for him. In the Enterprise’s February news article on Glasscock, his mother, Pigeon Deep, asked for people to write letters on his behalf to use in her second request for a pardon for her son. She received more than 200 letters.
The first pardon request was denied more than a year ago, but because of his strong faith, Glasscock doesn’t get discouraged. He said he knows God is in control.
“God has been working since the very beginning, at His own pace,” Glasscock wrote. “Many times we cannot see what He is doing, and definitely cannot discern His plan, but He is working. I believe that right now we are seeing the fruits of the numerous prayers to God, not only on my behalf, but for all those incarcerated. In order to persevere through this time of waiting I have heavily relied upon my faith in God's plan for me. I'm still not totally certain what that plan is, but I have peace in the knowledge that He has it all under control.”
In saying that, Glasscock admits that he’s human and worries just like the rest of us, but he has faith in God’s plan.
“I am not saying that I have never had doubts, or anxieties, just that when I do I remind myself that, ‘God's got it,’” he wrote. “In the end, I know He will provide everything I need for the next phase of my life, just as He has in all the previous phases. Whatever happens, I am at peace because of my faith in God.”
And the amount of support he’s received has been humbling, he said.
“After the article you wrote several months back, I received a lot of positive feedback,” Glasscock wrote. “Through it, God has sent people into my life I may have never met and allowed a reconnection with some that I had lost contact with over the years. I have heard stories of how my ordeal changed the direction of peoples' lives. And the number of prayers, letters to the Pardon Attorney, and overall support has been very humbling.”
Glasscock said his experience, while trying, has helped him become the man he is today.
“It is in the midst of our trials that we find out who we are as individuals, and who our true family and friends are,” he wrote. “God uses our trials to mold us and guide us towards the plans He has for us. If you are in the mist of your own trials, seek out the uplifting hand God has extended towards you. Take of that hand and let His peace into your heart.”
Glasscock’s mother shares her son’s faith in God’s plan, and believes the new clemency initiative is an answered prayer.
“God’s listening to our prayers. He’s answering our prayers,” Deep said. “He listens to us. He listens to our heart. He couldn’t do anything to correct what has happened, but He has had everything right in line to take care of Aaron. I just believe that He has His hand in this.”
Equal justic under law
“For our criminal justice system to be effective, it needs to not only be fair; but it also must be perceived as being fair. These older, stringent punishments that are out of line with sentences imposed under today’s laws erode people’s confidence in our criminal justice system. I am confident that this initiative will go far to promote the most fundamental of American ideals - equal justice under law.”
Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole
Press Conference Announcing the Clemency Initiative
April 23, 2014