Commutation Applications

Veronica Horowitz filed this request with the Louisiana Board of Pardons and Parole of Louisiana.
Est. Completion None
Status
Fix Required

Communications

From:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Veronica Horowitz <horow035@umn.edu>
Date: Sat, Jun 30, 2018 at 6:38 PM
Subject: Re: Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections Money Orders
To: Francis Abbott < FrancisAbbott@corrections.state.la.us>

Thanks, can you please write explicitly that I can not appeal your decision?

Sent from my iPhone

On Jun 30, 2018, at 7:36 PM, Francis Abbott < FrancisAbbott@corrections.state.la.us> wrote:

The previous applications are less structured and most of the information you are requesting is written in an narrative by the offender which is often inner twined with confidential information. As I mentioned in my previous email my decision is final.

Francis M. Abbott
Executive Director
Board of Pardons & Parole
Office: 225-342-6624
Fax : 225-342-3701
email: francisabbott@corrections.state.la.us

On Jun 29, 2018, at 4:29 PM, Veronica Horowitz <horow035@umn.edu> wrote:

Yes, but you were talking about the new, 14 page application, you said that explicitly. I am asking about my request for the older applications.

On Fri, Jun 29, 2018 at 4:27 PM, Francis Abbott <FrancisAbbott@corrections.state.la.us> wrote:
I did receive your request and as I mentioned in my response to said request “I am afraid that any attempt to redact any of this information could put myself or my staff in violation of the law.”.

Francis M. Abbott
Executive Director
Board of Pardons & Parole
Office: 225-342-6624
Fax : 225-342-3701
email: francisabbott@corrections.state.la.us

On Jun 29, 2018, at 4:21 PM, Veronica Horowitz <horow035@umn.edu> wrote:

Hi Francis,

I learned that the applications from 2016 and before were far shorter, not the 14 pages you cited. I am actually not requesting any of the confidential information you cited below, only the answer to the questions why they are requesting clemency and why they should receive it. I am wondering if you do not have that request?

Veronica

On Fri, Jun 29, 2018 at 4:06 PM, Francis Abbott <FrancisAbbott@corrections.state.la.us> wrote:
I am denying your request due to the sensitive nature of the information contained in the Application for Clemency. These applications are 14 pages and have confidential including but not limited to medical and mental health history, victims information, pending criminal charges, juvenile offender records, sexual offense victims, etc.. I am afraid that any attempt to redact any of this information could put myself or my staff in violation of the law. While I do appreciate the work you are doing I simply can not honor your request. My decision is final.

Francis M. Abbott
Executive Director
Board of Pardon & Parole
Louisiana Department of Public Safety & Corrections
Office: 225-342-6624
Fax : 225-342-3701
email: francisabbott@corrections.state.la.us

From: Veronica Horowitz <horow035@umn.edu>
To: Francis Abbott <FrancisAbbott@corrections.state.la.us>
Date: 06/21/2018 10:39 AM
Subject: Re: Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections Money Orders

Francis,

In that case, I would like to begin the process in case I end up taking on the law suit. States are required to have an administrative appeal process that I must first go through prior to filing. Please send me your explicit denial of my LA 44.01.2(a) request along with instructions on how to appeal so I can begin.

Thanks for your responsiveness,

Veronica

On Wed, Jun 20, 2018 at 8:48 PM, Francis Abbott <FrancisAbbott@corrections.state.la.us> wrote:
Mary

Francis M. Abbott
Executive Director
Board of Pardons & Parole
Office: 225-342-6624
Fax : 225-342-3701
email: francisabbott@corrections.state.la.us

On Jun 20, 2018, at 1:43 PM, Veronica Horowitz <horow035@umn.edu> wrote:

With Hall? Or Mary?

Sent from my iPhone

On Jun 20, 2018, at 12:25 PM, Francis Abbott <FrancisAbbott@corrections.state.la.us> wrote:

I concur with my predecessor.

Francis M. Abbott
Executive Director
Board of Pardons & Parole
Office: 225-342-6624
Fax : 225-342-3701
email: francisabbott@corrections.state.la.us

On Jun 17, 2018, at 7:57 AM, Veronica Horowitz <horow035@umn.edu> wrote:

Hi Ken and Francis,

I dropped the check for $300 in a mailbox on June 6th. The check is payable to: Board of Pardons and Parole, and I mailed it to this address, care of Mary Fuentes: P.O. Box 94304, Baton Rouge LA 70802. I do not think it has cleared yet, if one of you could confirm when you receive it I would appreciate it.

Francis,

It is good to meet you. I am attending the commutation hearings in August so I will hopefully meet you in person then. Since you are taking over the position, I just want to check with you on your interpretation of Louisiana's Open Records Act (overview pasted below, expanded in 2017) and how it applies to commutation applications.

Louisiana Public Records Act
The Louisiana Public Records Act, also known as Louisiana's Sunshine Law, was enacted by the state’s legislature in 1940. Section LA 44.01.2(a) defines public records as, “All books, records, writings, accounts, letters and letter books, maps, drawings, photographs, cards, tapes, recordings, memorandum, and papers, and all copies, duplicates, photographs, including microfilm, or other reproductions thereof, or any other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, including information contained in electronic data processing equipment, having been used, being in use, or prepared, possessed, or retained for use in the conduct, transaction, or performance of any business, transaction, work, duty, or function which was conducted, transacted, or performed by or under the authority of the constitution or laws of this state, or by or under the authority of any ordinance, regulation, mandate, or order of any public body or concerning the receipt or payment of any money received or paid by or under the authority of the constitution or the laws of this state, are "public records", except as otherwise provided in this Chapter or the Constitution of Louisiana.”
Anyone can request public records and a purpose does not need to be stated. There are no restrictions on what can be done with the public documents once a records requester has them in hand. The custodian of the records must respond to requests within three days.
Open Records Law La.R.S. 44:1 etseq.
Exempt: Pending criminal litigation; juvenile status offenders; sexual offense victims; security procedures; trade secrets; and some public employee information.
I know that the applications likely contain confidential information within them, but the only portion of the applications that I am requesting are the portions where the commutation applicant, in their own words, answers these three open ended sections on the new applications (in order of importance):
1. Reasons for seeking a commutation
2. Incarceration Information
3. Account of the Offense

Hall Morrison had been working with me on getting these documents, but then changed positions before the request had been completed. I was working with Mary Fuentes who told me that the commutation applications were not considered publicly available information, but at that time I was requesting the applications in their entirety (in all the other states I am studying--Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Washington these documents are public record, I was not expecting an issue). So if you are able to help me with this I would really appreciate it. I have made a connection with a lawyer in Louisiana who is willing to help with this but I am concerned that the process will take too long for me to get the data in time to analyze it. Please let me know if any or all of these particular sections could be made available to me, and I could work with you on requesting a reasonable number that would not overburden you--My initial request was for all applications since 2016, but I am happy to select a smaller number if that would expedite the request.

Thanks so much for all of your help Ken and in advance Francis, I know that the Louisiana DOC is swamped right now.

Please feel free to call or email me back with any questions or clarifications.

Phone (319)614-0606
Email horow035@umn.edu

The Best,

Veronica

On Sat, Jun 16, 2018 at 5:35 AM, Ken Pastorick <KenPastorick@corrections.state.la.us> wrote:
Hi Veronica,

Thanks for your reply. When did you send your latest payment, and for how much? I will check on that. On your future requests, please cc me, and include Francis Abbott (CC’d here). Francis is our new Director, and Mary’s replacement. Mary is about to leave the agency for another position, and I’d hate for your future requests to get lost in the shuffle.

Thanks!

Ken

Sent from my iPhone

On Jun 15, 2018, at 11:38 PM, Veronica Horowitz <horow035@umn.edu> wrote:

Hi Ken,

Yes I have received the CAJUN documents from Mary, and I have mailed a final check--have you received it? I think that is all I will be able to get for now given the "not open records" response to my request for actual petitions. I have been in touch with a Louisiana lawyer who is offering me help with that issue, but depending on how long the process will take I may table it for now, I do need to analyze the data and it is going to take me a long time to organize the 12,000 pages that Mary sent as is.

Thanks for checking in,

The Best,

Veronica

On Fri, Jun 15, 2018 at 1:46 PM, Ken Pastorick <KenPastorick@corrections.state.la.us> wrote:
Hi Veronica,

Hope you're doing well. I wanted to follow up with you to see if you had received everything you had requested. Please feel free to respond to me via email, or you can reach out to me at either of the telephone numbers listed below (cellphone would probably be better).

Thanks!

Ken Pastorick
Communications Director
Department of Public Safety & Corrections
Office 225.219.0499
Cell 225.620.3728

From: Veronica Horowitz <horow035@umn.edu>
To: Mary Fuentes <MaryFuentes@corrections.state.la.us>
Cc: Ken Pastorick <KenPastorick@corrections.state.la.us>
Date: 05/08/2018 08:47 PM
Subject: Re: Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections Money Orders

That would be great - part of 2016 & 2017.

I really just need to get something as soon as I can, I am supposed to be much farther along and I am with all my other states but behind in Louisiana due to the delay in my request. So whatever is fastest I’ll take at this point, at least for the time being.

Veronica

Sent from my iPhone

On May 8, 2018, at 6:04 PM, Mary Fuentes <MaryFuentes@corrections.state.la.us> wrote:

Veronica,

Let me investigate the quickest way to get this information to you which would include age, offense date, nature of offense and length of sentence, this information is contained in DOC CAJUN system. The conduct report is a report that we may have for those applicants that received a hearing, we won't have them for the applicants that were denied hearings. However, DOC keeps these records in the offender's file at the institution, and that may be something they can furnish. For those applicants that had a hearing, to pull the conduct report we received may take more time. As I previously mentioned, we have at least part of 2016 and all of 2017 records electronically. If that will be sufficient data for you, then the time frame will be less. Please advise.

Thanks

Mary Fuentes
Pardon and Parole Board
Executive Director
(225) 342-6624
Maryfuentes@corrections.state.la.us

From: Veronica Horowitz <horow035@umn.edu>
To: Mary Fuentes <MaryFuentes@corrections.state.la.us>
Cc: Ken Pastorick <KenPastorick@corrections.state.la.us>
Date: 05/08/2018 05:52 PM
Subject: Re: Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections Money Orders

Ok, then Mary, while I investigate that further can you please send me all of the data considered an exception to this rule? As detailed in the document you just sent “For a list of exceptions, please see 15:574.12(G)(1)(a)--these include the conduct report, age, offense date, nature of offense, and length of sentence.”

As soon as you can, it has been nearly a year since I made the request.

Thanks much!

Veronica

Sent from my iPhone

On May 8, 2018, at 5:18 PM, Mary Fuentes <MaryFuentes@corrections.state.la.us> wrote:

After our last email, I reached out to our legal counsel and to DOC legal for clarification. It has been advised that the clemency application is not public record. DOC legal has prepared the response below to Ken as per your request to him, in which I was all included to share with you. Let me know if you have any questions.


Mary Fuentes
Pardon and Parole Board
Executive Director
(225) 342-6624
Maryfuentes@corrections.state.la.us

----- Forwarded by Mary Fuentes/CORRECTIONS on 05/08/2018 05:12 PM -----
From: Jonathan Vining/CORRECTIONS
To: Mary Fuentes/CORRECTIONS@CORRECTIONS
Cc: Ken Pastorick/CORRECTIONS@CORRECTIONS
Date: 05/08/2018 04:04 PM
Subject: Fw: Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections Money Orders

Please see the attached. Information gathered by the Board of Pardons/Parole is not subject to disclosure under the public records act. In fact, all offender information is confidential absent an exception given in LSA-RS 15:574.12.
For a list of exceptions, please see 15:574.12(G)(1)(a)--these include the conduct report, age, offense date, nature of offense, and length of sentence.

----- Forwarded by Jonathan Vining/CORRECTIONS on 05/08/2018 03:56 PM -----

From: Ken Pastorick/CORRECTIONS
To: Jonathan Vining/CORRECTIONS@CORRECTIONS
Date: 05/04/2018 04:47 PM
Subject: Fw: Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections Money Orders

Hi Jonathan,

Can you provide guidance on this Monday.

Thanks!

Ken Pastorick
Communications Director
Department of Public Safety & Corrections
Office 225.219.0499
Cell 225.620.3728
----- Forwarded by Ken Pastorick/CORRECTIONS on 05/04/2018 04:46 PM -----
From: Veronica Horowitz <horow035@umn.edu>
To: Ken Pastorick <KenPastorick@corrections.state.la.us>
Date: 05/04/2018 03:53 PM
Subject: Re: Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections Money Orders

So, I'm not sure if this is a result of you forwarding this on but I just heard back from Mary. When I was in Louisiana last she showed me the board's policy on open records and it seems there may be some portions of the applications that are not public record, yet my reading of LSA-R.S. 44:1 ET SEQ suggests that the vast majority of the applications are public, the parts I am primarily concerned with are the written portions of the application where a petitioner explains why they would like clemency. Mary just sent me an email saying the applications are not public, which seems incorrect to me. I am wondering how I should proceed at this point? To be blunt, I think this is just a way of trying to avoid the task of sending me the documents since I know that there office is short staffed but I am not sure how to best proceed from here. I wrote her back reminding her that she had shown me the policy indicating much of the records are public and asking her to send me those portions...

Veronica

On Fri, May 4, 2018 at 2:14 PM, Veronica Horowitz <horow035@umn.edu> wrote:
Great, thank you!

Sent from my iPhone

On May 4, 2018, at 1:31 PM, Ken Pastorick <KenPastorick@corrections.state.la.us> wrote:

Hi Veronica,

I have forwarded your information to the folks handling this. I'll let you know what I hear from them.

Thanks!

Ken Pastorick
Communications Director
Department of Public Safety & Corrections
Office 225.219.0499
Cell 225.620.3728
From: Veronica Horowitz <horow035@umn.edu>
To: Ken Pastorick <KenPastorick@corrections.state.la.us>
Date: 05/04/2018 01:21 PM
Subject: Re: Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections Money Orders

Hi Ken,

Just wanted to check in with you about this.

Veronica

On Thu, Mar 29, 2018 at 4:52 PM, Ken Pastorick <KenPastorick@corrections.state.la.us> wrote:
Hi Veronica,

My name is Ken Pastorick. I'm the Communications Director for the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections. Our Department recently received two Postal money orders from you totaling $1,300. We're trying to track down the reason you submitted these payments to our department. Please provide me with any information you can that would help us understand why we received these funds from you. The money orders have your name, and a Minneapolis, Minnesota address. Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Ken Pastorick
Communications Director
Department of Public Safety & Corrections
Office 225.219.0499
Cell 225.620.3728

--

Veronica Horowitz, Doctoral Candidate
1082 Social Sciences
University of Minnesota, MN 55455
Phone: (319) 614-0606
Email: horow035@umn.edu
Student Page

--

Veronica Horowitz, Doctoral Candidate
1082 Social Sciences
University of Minnesota, MN 55455
Phone: (319) 614-0606
Email: horow035@umn.edu
Student Page
<57412 Information as to offenders and ex-offenders confidentiality.pdf>
<Sheriff Royce Toney.pdf>

--

Veronica Horowitz, Doctoral Candidate
1082 Social Sciences
University of Minnesota, MN 55455
Phone: (319) 614-0606
Email: horow035@umn.edu
Student Page
Personal Website

--

Veronica Horowitz, Doctoral Candidate
1082 Social Sciences
University of Minnesota, MN 55455
Phone: (319) 614-0606
Email: horow035@umn.edu
Student Page
Personal Website

--

Veronica Horowitz, Doctoral Candidate
1082 Social Sciences
University of Minnesota, MN 55455
Phone: (319) 614-0606
Email: horow035@umn.edu
Student Page
Personal Website

--

Veronica Horowitz, Doctoral Candidate

1082 Social Sciences

University of Minnesota, MN 55455

Phone: (319) 614-0606

Email: horow035@umn.edu

Student Page

Personal Website

--

Veronica Horowitz, Doctoral Candidate

1082 Social Sciences

University of Minnesota, MN 55455

Phone: (319) 614-0606

Email: horow035@umn.edu

Student Page

Personal Website

--

Veronica Horowitz, Doctoral Candidate

1082 Social Sciences

University of Minnesota, MN 55455

Phone: (319) 614-0606

Email: horow035@umn.edu

Student Page

Personal Website

From: Veronica Horowitz

To Whom It May Concern:

Pursuant to the Louisiana Public Records Law, I hereby request the following records:

All commutation applications submitted to the board by prisoners from 2016-present.

The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.

In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 3 business days, as the statute requires.

Sincerely,

Veronica Horowitz

From:

Hi Francis,

As I stated in my previous message (to which you did not reply) my council
informed me I have the right to appeal. I am now using a legal server to
track your responses (or lack thereof) so I would politely request that you
1. explicitly state the reasons for denial. And 2. Either send me detailed
instructions on the appeals process OR 2. Explicitly state that I cannot
appeal your decision.

Thanks so much,

Veronica

--

Veronica Horowitz, Doctoral Candidate

1082 Social Sciences

University of Minnesota, MN 55455

Phone: (319) 614-0606

Email: horow035@umn.edu

Student Page <http://www.soc.umn.edu/people/gradprofile.php?UID=horow035>

Personal Website <http://www.VeronicaHorowitz.com>

From:

Francis,

I think I must not have been clear. In order for me to file a suit I need
to first go through the formal appeals process and be denied. When you said
"your decision was final" you did not provide appeal instructions. I asked
you to either send appeal instructions or explicitly state you were denying
my right to appeal, and you didn't reply. That it is why I resent the
request through the legal server to track this time, so I can go through
the proper legal channels if I decide it is worth the time and energy. I
hope that makes more sense to you now as to why I resent the request. Your
decision was plenty clear, but the next steps were not.

Veronica

--

Veronica Horowitz, Doctoral Candidate

1082 Social Sciences

University of Minnesota, MN 55455

Phone: (319) 614-0606

Email: horow035@umn.edu

Student Page <http://www.soc.umn.edu/people/gradprofile.php?UID=horow035>

Personal Website <http://www.VeronicaHorowitz.com>

From:

​​
Thanks Francis!

--

Veronica Horowitz, Doctoral Candidate

1082 Social Sciences

University of Minnesota, MN 55455

Phone: (319) 614-0606

Email: horow035@umn.edu

Student Page <http://www.soc.umn.edu/people/gradprofile.php?UID=horow035>

Personal Website <http://www.VeronicaHorowitz.com>

From: Louisiana Board of Pardons and Parole

Hey Francis - that was an automated update, disregard, they are helping me
figure out how to take the request to court which is apparently how appeals
work in Louisiana.

V
Sent from my iPhone

Files

There are no files associated with this request.