Dear Mr. Rodgers
Please find attached my letter in opposition to any renewed petition for a presidential pardon or executive clemency filed by Federal inmate Jewell C. "Chris" McNair (BOP Registration #25310-001), who was convicted in 2006 on multiple counts of conspiracy and bribery in USA v. Jewell C. "Chris" McNair, Case Nos.: 2:05-CR-00543-CLS-TMP and 2:05-CR-00061-RBP-TMP, (U.S.D.C, N.D.AL).
In lieu of a pardon or clemency for inmate McNair, I am requesting that you and Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., use the imprimatur of your Justice Department Offices to urge President Barack Obama to award a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom to McNair's deceased daughter, Denise, as well as Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, and Carole Robertson - the other three little girls who died in the September 15, 1963, bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.
I have copied Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole on this email for the specific purpose of communicating my request regarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom directly to Mr. Holder and President Obama.
I am also requesting formal notification of any hearing that may be set on the Department's consideration of inmate McNair's renewed petition for a pardon or clemency. I would like to attend such a hearing in Washington and be heard in person.
Thanks for your attention in this matter.
Donald V. Watkins, Esq.
Donald V. Watkins, P.C.
2170 Highland Avenue, Suite 100
Birmingham, AL 35205
Donald Watkins Letter to United States Dept. of Justice, Office of The Pardon Attorney
Donald V. Watkins, P.C.
A Professional Corporation
2170 Highland Avenue South, Suite 100
Birmingham, Alabama 35205 USA
205-558-4665 (Office) 877-558-4670 (Fax)
July 29, 2012
Delivered via Email: USPardon.Attorney@usdoj.gov
Honorable Ronald L. Rodgers
Office of the Pardon Attorney
U.S. Department of Justice
1425 New York Avenue N.W., Suite 1100
Washington, DC 20530
Re: Opposition to the Renewed Bid of Bureau of Prisons Inmate Jewell C. “Chris” McNair (Registration #25310-001) for a Pardon or Executive Clemency
Dear Mr. Rodgers:
The purpose of this letter is to oppose the renewed bid of Federal inmate Jewell C. “Chris” McNair (BOP Registration # 25310-001) for a presidential pardon or executive clemency.
I first opposed McNair application for a pardon or clemency on July 18, 2011. A copy of that letter should be in your Office’s case file on inmate McNair. All of the reasons outlined in that letter of opposition still apply to McNair’s renewed bid for freedom.
Once again, it is my solemn duty—as a ratepayer of the sewer system in Jefferson County, Alabama, as a long-time civil rights attorney, and as a law-abiding American citizen—to vigorously oppose McNair’s renewed bid for a pardon or clemency. McNair’s intent to reapply for a pardon or clemency was reported in a story published in the July 20, 2012, edition of The Birmingham News.
McNair’s first application for a pardon or executive clemency was rejected in November of 2011. For justice to prevail, it is imperative that his renewed bid for freedom suffer the same fate. A pardon or clemency for McNair is neither warranted nor deserved.
I am one of many people in Jefferson County who powerlessly fell victim to McNair’s kleptocratic crime spree. I own a 32,000-square foot Class A office building on the Southside of Birmingham in Jefferson County. Because of McNair’s bribery conduct and malfeasance as a County Commissioner, I have watched helplessly as my sewer rates have increased time and time again.
Moreover, these sewer rate increases were not the result of higher usage or an enhanced offering of sewer services by Jefferson County. Instead, they were necessary to cover the cost and consequences of the engrained public corruption led by McNair and joined in by five of his fellow former County Commissioners, all of whom were convicted of Federal bribery charges and other crimes. Sadly, the dramatic increases in sewer rates for my fellow ratepayers and me have no end in sight.
McNair’s time in prison is fixed at 5 years. Jefferson County’s time in the prison of staggering sewer rate increases has no release date. McNair will one day be free. The hundreds of thousands of Jefferson County sewer ratepayers, like me, will never be free of the devastating economic consequences of McNair’s greed and corruption. McNair is apparently getting some help and sympathy in his bid for freedom. Nobody is helping ratepayers, like me, break out of this endless cycle of sewer rate increases wrought upon us by McNair and his posse of crooks.
Mr. Rodgers, please ask President Barack Obama to help us, the ratepayers of Jefferson County, not McNair. Ask him to show us sympathy and mercy, not McNair.
If Mr. Obama feels compelled to free inmate McNair because of his daughter’s tragic death on September 15, 1963, in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, please remind him that Denise McNair was one of four little girls who died that sad day. The other three girls - Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, and Carole Robertson – also paid the ultimate price in blood for our freedom and dignity.
Unlike inmate McNair, the parents of Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, and Carole Robertson never sought to profit from the tragic deaths of their daughters, nor did they use this despicable chapter in American history as an excuse to engage in criminal conduct. They suffered the loss of their daughters in quiet dignity, and they lived their lives in ways that would make all Americans proud.
Some say that inmate McNair is a civil rights hero. I firmly believe that the real heroes in the 1963 church bombing tragedy were Denise’s mother and the law-abiding parents of Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, and Carole Robertson.
Mr. Rodgers, in lieu of a pardon or clemency for inmate McNair, I am urging you and Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., to use the imprimatur of your Justice Department Offices to encourage President Obama to award a long overdue, posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom at a White House ceremony to the families of Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Denise McNair. This singular presidential act will forever honor these four little girls and will enshrine them in their rightful place in history as great Americans. They deserve nothing less.
The act of pardoning McNair, a serial felon whose criminal conduct has forever stained his daughter’s legacy, is not the way to properly honor these families for their sacrifice in freeing America from the death grip of centuries of racism. A Presidential Medal of Freedom is what Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Denise McNair truly deserve.
Please allow McNair to languish in prison where he belongs. He forfeited his freedom while stealing ours.
Donald V. Watkins