Sullivan County man among 17 granted clemency by Gov. Lee

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Gov. Bill Lee granted clemency to 17 people on Thursday, according to a release from the governor’s office.

Among those who were granted clemency was Kenney Simpson of Sullivan County, who was granted a pardon. The release did not state Simpson’s offense.

“After reviewing the unique merits of each case, I have made the decision to grant these individuals executive clemency,” Lee said in a release. “These men and women have shown they are ready for productive lives beyond their sentences, and I appreciate the Board of Parole’s consideration in this process.”

Executive Clemency Grants

  • Adam Braseel of Grundy County – Executive Action: Exoneration
  • Brandon Benson of Anderson County – Executive Action: Pardon
  • Nathaniel Boyd of Shelby County – Executive Action: Pardon
  • Relerford Brown of Fentress County – Executive Action: Pardon
  • Charles Diffie of South Carolina – Executive Action: Pardon
  • Zenobia Dobson of Knox County – Executive Action: Pardon
  • Michael Graham of Perry County – Executive Action: Pardon
  • Tina Jackson of Haywood County – Executive Action: Pardon
  • Eugene Lee of Florida – Executive Action: Pardon
  • Quantel Lindsey of Georgia – Executive Action: Pardon
  • Jasbir Mann of Massachusetts – Executive Action: Pardon
  • Kevin Nunley of Bedford County – Executive Action: Pardon
  • Charles Sanderfur of Davidson County – Executive Action: Pardon
  • Kenney Simpson of Sullivan County – Executive Action: Pardon
  • Mindy Dodd of Rutherford County – Executive Action: Commutation to immediate parole eligibility
  • Jamie Grimes of Davidson County – Executive Action: Commutation to immediate parole eligibility
  • Charles Hall of Shelby County – Executive Action: Commutation to parole eligibility upon completing certain programming

There are three types of executive clemency:

  • Exoneration – a finding by the governor that an applicant did not commit the crime for which he or she was convicted
  • Pardon – 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
  • Commutation – a reduction in an applicant’s sentence

The governor’s clemency decisions are made in consultation with the Tennessee Board of Parole, which issues non-binding recommendations on each case.

The governor’s office also announced that it will introduce a new clemency review process for certain offenders who violated the drug-free school zone law. This comes after the General Assembly passed legislation to reduce the school zone radius to 500 feet. It will apply to offenses committed before Sept. 1, 2020.

“The new process will expedite the review of convictions for those sentenced under prior Tennessee law to determine whether they merit consideration for a review of their sentence under the new law,” the governor’s office said in the release. “There are currently 335 individuals incarcerated for drug-free school zone offenses committed prior to September 1, 2020.”

In order to qualify, offenders must not have been involved in selling or distributing to a minor or have a drug-related disciplinary infraction within the past three years.

Those who the criteria may apply by clicking here.

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