Since first learning a couple of years ago about Efren Paredes and the sad way the justice system of 20 years ago failed a young Latino Honors student, and how the current system is only perpetuating the wrongs committed then, Latina Lista has solidly stood among the many supporters who believe that Efren was wrongfully convicted and deserves to be released.
This morning, Efren’s mother sends a plea to everyone to sign an online petition asking for Efren’s release which can be sent electronically to the Governor of Michigan, who is the only one who has the power to commute his sentence.
We reprint her letter below so that 1. The goal of 1,000,000 signees can be reached and 2. People realize that juvenile justice reforms still need to be made in this country.
My son, Efren Paredes, Jr., was arrested at age 15 and sentenced to life without parole — a veritable death sentence. He is now 36-years-old and still incarcerated. (Efren did not commit the crime he is in prison for, but that is an issue separate from this message.)
We are now waiting on a decision from Michigan Gov. Granholm regarding Efren’s commutation request seeking release after over 20 years of imprisonment.
I am calling on every person who opposes life without parole sentences to please sign our petition seeking Efren’s release and ask others to sign the petition as well. You can learn more about the circumstances surrounding his case and the overwhelming support he has at that link as well.
Next Monday the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments about the issue of juvenile life without parole (JLWOP) sentences. We can help shape the way the country deals with this issue by galvanizing people of conscience to support issues like Efren’s petition and others like it.
Justice for Efren represents justice for the 2,500 youth who have received the same sentence. We must condemn this practice and send a message to the entire country that it is time we no longer be the only remaining country in the world who sentences children to die in prison.
It all begins with grassroots efforts just like this. Thank you for your time and consideration, and thank you for lending your voice to this very important cause.