Anthony Pierce and Melissa Chastang Pen NLJ Article Calling for Pardon of Marcus Garvey

The National Law Journal has published the article “Leading Up to MLK Day, It’s Time To Pardon One of His Predecessors,” written by Anthony Pierce, partner in charge of Akin Gump’s Washington, D.C., office, and Melissa Chastang, an associate. The article discusses the efforts to obtain a posthumous presidential pardon of the civil rights pioneer Marcus Garvey, who was convicted of mail fraud in 1923.

Pierce and Chastang make the case for a posthumous pardon of Garvey for, what they write, was the “racially charged and politically motivated investigation” of him that led to his conviction and eventual deportation to his native Jamaica. The United States, they say “has never made amends.”

Despite a weak case against him, the authors write that “the combination of a biased judge, prosecutorial misconduct and a government bent on having Garvey removed from the United States conspired” to lead to his conviction despite “overwhelming evidence of a fixed trial. A pardon by President Obama before he leaves office, they argue, “would help right this tremendous wrong.” They add that a pardon “would be an important legal and symbolic step in advancing the legacy and work of Marcus Garvey and the many leaders, including Dr. King, whom he influenced.”