Jul 26, 2018
In our first episode we speak with Amy Povah, founder of the nonprofit CANDO (Clemency for All Non-violent Drug Offenders). Amy was sentenced to 24 years in prison under the conspiracy law for refusing to cooperate with federal prosecutors when her former husband was charged with MDMA manufacturing and distribution.
After a long campaign to free her, and after serving nine of those years, she was finally granted Clemency by Bill Clinton in 2003. Since then she has devoted her life to helping free other victims of the drug war.
We remember the campaign to free Amy back in 1999, and we helped out by distributing her postcards. She is a personal hero of mine and a fitting interview subject for our first episode. Not only do we learn the full story of her arrest, incarceration, and release, but through her subsequent work fighting on behalf of other wrongfully imprisoned drug offenders, we get an inside look into the workings of the DOJ's Office of Pardon Attorneys, as well as presidential politics that is sure to enlighten—and enrage—many listeners.
"I knew I was in the presence of evil," says Amy describing the federal agents who raided her home and interrogated her when she was first arrested, "and I was never going to cooperate with them." Even when facing life in prison and everyone around her telling her to cut a deal, including her parents as well as her own lawyer, Amy stuck to her principles, refusing to wear a wire or testify against others. "My soul is more important to me than physical comfort," she says.
Last month Amy and CANDO were instrumental in getting President Trump to release grandmother and nonviolent drug offender, Alice Johnson. Although Kim Kardashian gets all the media attention, Alice Johnson had been on the top of CANDO's clemency list since 2014. We hear the full story of how and why Kim Kardashian got involved, and how partisan politics almost derailed her release.
Amy Povah is a truly inspiring woman. This interview should motivate all people of conscience to get involved to end the tragedy and injustice of the drug war.
Edited by Emanuel
Sound engineered by Jimmy Martin
Opening music track by Frankum, creative commons.