A closer look at Patrick’s commutation and pardons
Governor Deval Patrick approved one commutation and granted four pardons on Monday. Below, read about each of the people affected .
In 2007, Brockton police found Hamilton living in the home of a drug dealer and charged her with conspiracy to distribute cocaine 700 feet from a school zone after finding three grams of the substance. After spending two years in jail awaiting trial, she was convicted by a jury but a Bristol Court judge vacated the conviction citing insufficient evidence. The prosecutor in the case, Jessica Healy, appealed the judge’s decision to the state’s Appellate Court.
In 2013, Hamilton was sober, seeing a therapist, attended Narcotics Anonymous meetings, and was ready to start sociology courses at Bunker Hill Community College. However, an Appeals Court decision sent her back to prison to finish a 7½-year sentence.
In September, Hamilton, 49, pleaded with the state Advisory Board of Pardons to recommend her early release from a Framingham prison.
“I just want my sentence commuted so I can live my life,” she said.
Snyder, a 43-year-old cancer survivor living in Sheffield with his wife and teenage daughter, served two years in the Berkshire House of Correction after he was arrested for selling a small bag of marijuana when he was a 17-year-old high school senior. The Advisory Board described the sentence as “very harsh.”
After his release, Snyder was never arrested again, but his record has kept him from pursuing his dream job as a high school sports coach.
“I’d like to vote,” Snyder said during his hearing for a pardon. “I’ve never had the opportunity to vote.”
Allah, 44, was the only person who was granted a pardon for a violent offense. Allah, now a Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office employee who helps inmates make the transition from jail to freedom, was convicted in 1991 of armed assault with intent to murder for his role in the shooting of a man he thought was a gang rival. The victim was left paralyzed.
After Allah was released in 1998, he devoted himself to steering drug addicts and criminals on Boston streets to the Nation of Islam. His work was so effective, he quickly drew the respect of city leaders, police, and prosecutors. Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, whose office prosecuted Allah before Conley’s tenure, even wrote a letter supporting his pardon.
Guy James Coraccio
Coraccio, of Westford, sought a pardon on three offenses, none of which were violent: two motor vehicle charges and a felony count for larceny over $250. Each of the incidents occurred more than 40 years ago, when Coraccio was between the ages of 14 and 21.
Because of the felony conviction, the government in 2008 denied Coraccio a renewal of his license to own and carry a firearm — even though he’d had one since 1975.
The Advisory Board of Pardons recommended to Patrick that Coraccio’s record be cleared so he could carry a weapon again, arguing that his years of responsible gun ownership, good citizenship, and contributions to society outweighed his youthful indiscretions.
When he was 20, Coraccio was convicted of stealing a door off a parked car.
Coraccio, who has worked in machine parts and auto sales, has been a youth sports coach and a competitive marksman.
Thomas K. Schoolcraft
Schoolcraft, of Seabrook, N.H., was a co-defendant in a string of housebreaks that took place in Massachusetts and New Hampshire when he was 18. The case landed Schoolcraft in a New Hampshire correctional facility for eight months; he then served probation in both states.
In 2008, Schoolcraft completed probation and has since finished college. He is now studying for a master’s degree at Boston University, and has worked as an intern and corrections officer in New Hampshire, where he concentrated on helping inmates enroll in college.
Schoolcraft now works in Massachusetts community corrections program. The pardons board said he should be cleared based on his good citizenship.