Two men convicted in Shelby County have been granted clemency by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee when he granted executive clemency to 17 people on Thursday.
Charles C. Hall received a commutation for his two sentences of life without parole, which he had received under the Repeat Violent Offenders Three Strikes Statute. He was convicted in February 2003 of two counts of aggravated robbery, crimes he committed while on parole. The commutation will make him eligible for parole consideration upon his completion of a cognitive behavior intervention program.
Hall was 55 years old when he committed those crimes. Today, he is a mentor in the prison's mentorship program for young offenders and "shows remorse for the hurt he caused to himself, his family, and his victims," according to the commutation.
According to the commutation, 112 prison officials in the Tennessee Department of Corrections signed a memorandum requesting clemency for Hall, and the Tennessee Board of Parole recommended granting his commutation.
Lee also granted a pardon to Nathaniel D. Boyd, who was convicted of several misdemeanors between 1992 and 2004, including fraudulent use of a credit card, driving while license revoked, possession of a controlled substance, social security fraud and adult driving while impaired. A pardon is an official statement of forgiveness of an offense, typically granted to an applicant who completed his or her sentence more than 5 years ago and who has demonstrated good cause for forgiveness.
Boyd is a retired, disabled veteran with 30 years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps and the Tennessee and Mississippi National Guard. He is described as a wonderful teacher who inspires students to seek higher education and professional careers, according to his pardon.
The clemency decisions are a first for Lee, who in 2020 loosened criteria to qualify for a governor's review. Those receiving clemency praised Lee's action and attorneys said the moves were a hopeful sign but more must be done for others seeking relief.
Lee's tweaks to the process, part of the governor's push for broader criminal justice reforms, were welcomed by local defense attorneys at the time.
Attorneys said the process of applying for a Board of Parole consideration, which determined whether a case could be sent to the governor, was burdensome. Few applications reached the desk of former Gov. Bill Haslam, who said in 2019 he should have staggered clemency decisions through his eight years in office. Haslam encouraged Lee to do the same.
Lee declined to answer whether he plans to grant more clemency requests during the remainder of his first term.
"This is a very important and serious issue that has taken a tremendous amount of work, a lot of people to come together for what we think is a just and right process," Lee told reporters.
Reporter Melissa Brown contributed to this article.
Katherine Burgess covers county government and religion. She can be reached at email@example.com, 901-529-2799 or followed on Twitter @kathsburgess.
This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Two men convicted in Shelby County receive clemency from Gov. Bill Lee