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U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder pushed for expanded clemency for non-violent drug offenders whose sentences would be shorter if they had been convicted today. / Olivier Douliery, POOL EPA

WASHINGTON -- More than 20,000 federal prisoners are seeking legal assistance for clemency requests under an expanded federal program announced earlier this year by the Justice Department.

A coalition of defense attorneys and civil rights advocates said Monday that they will begin vetting the requests during the next month to determine if they meet the Justice Department's new conditions.

Under the new guidelines, created in part to address harsh mandatory minimum sentencing laws, candidates must be non-violent, have served at least 10 years of their current terms and are serving sentences that would be shorter in length if imposed today.

More than 1,000 attorneys have been trained to process the requests as part of an effort known as Clemency Project 2014.



Copyright 2014USAToday

Read the original story: Thousands seek clemency help

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