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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Letter from Efrén

Dear Friends,

After careful deliberation and time to regroup from the news of the Governor denying my Commutation of Sentence Request, I have decided that before my family and I make any decisions about what next major steps to take, I want to first make a strong effort to ask the Governor to reconsider her decision and urge her to grant the Commutation Request. I am asking you to please support this as well and to invite others to join us.

There are 10 months remaining of the Governor's term. I know of instances that the Parole Board has asked the Governor to reconsider the denial of a Commutation Request denial, so it is not beyond the realm of possibilities. There are no guarantees our efforts will work, but what I do know is that I believe in the Creator and I know that in Him all things are possible.

What I am asking you to please do, is sign our new online petition at: and invite others to do so also. Please post the link on facebook, twitter, and ask others to do so as well. You can use the simple message, "Efren's Commutation Request was denied 3/8/10. Please sign our petition asking the Governor to reconsider and reverse her decision at:"

People can also use the text from the petition to print out and send a letter to the Governor at: Governor Jennifer Granholm, PO Box 30013 , Lansing, MI 48909.

Repost the message as often as you can and also please share via email. My family and I will also be working on other things in the meantime and making efforts to keep visibility on the campaign.

Some people may think this avenue will not produce any results. That may be true, but I know that doing nothing won't produce any for sure. There is a part of me that believes the power of people change the world. I believe in our will to thrive, to succeed, to live, to endure.

I am asking you to support this effort and make the decision to keep pressing forward. We still have time. If we use it wisely perhaps we can make a difference.

On another note, know that I am bouncing back from the news of the Governor denying my Commutation Request. It's been three days now and I am gaining more strength each day. I ask that you continue to keep me in your thoughts and prayers. I will continue to work fiercely on the campaign and doing what you have courageously and relentlessly done for me the past two years:  Fight for Justice.

Keep in mind the U.S. Supreme Court will also be deciding a case about Life Without Parole sentences for Juveniles any day now which could abolish the deplorable sentences nationwide. There are still a number of developments underway that could change the course of my Commutation Request and other things.

Thank you for your continued support. I'm back!

In Solidarity,


Monday, March 15, 2010

Could Facebook Save His Live?

By Leticia Miranda

Like many people in their 30s, Efrén Paredes Jr. has a lot of friends online (more than 3,400 on Facebook). Unlike most people online, Paredes is incarcerated at a Michigan state prison, and he has no access to the Internet.

Nevertheless, his Facebook account is frequently updated with links to news on youth incarceration, immigration and other topics affecting Latinos. His Twitter and mySpace accounts are equally active with tidbits on what he’s feeling in the moment. And his website and blog are brimming with information ranging from updates on his case to Latin American politics. In response, people across the country are now writing letters and signing online petitions on his behalf asking the Michigan governor to release him.

Read the entire article at:

Fighting for Their Lives

By Leticia Miranda

The Supreme Court considers whether it’s cruel and unusual punishment to lock up teenagers for life without parole.

Efrén Paredes Jr. was a 15-year-old honor roll student in rural Michigan when he was convicted of killing an assistant manager at the grocery store where he worked and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Today, he is one of almost 1,775 prisoners who were sentenced as youth and locked up for life without parole, according to a report released by The Sentencing Project, a prison reform research and advocacy organization. A staggering 77 percent of those youth are Black or Latino.

This June, the Supreme Court will decide whether young people can be sentenced to life without parole for crimes that didn’t result in a death. Separately, several states are also considering abolishing life without parole for youth.

The ruling will set a major legal precedent that may affect cases like Paredes’s. In the meantime, Paredes, who is now 36, is hoping that Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm will grant his commutation request by the end of her term this year and release him.

Read the entire article at: