JO - J'can man in New York pardoned, spared deportation
J'can man in New York pardoned, spared deportation
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
A Jamaican man who was convicted of robbery in New York 16 years ago was Friday pardoned by Governor Eliot Spitzer and spared deportation after a judicial inquiry suggested that he might have been the victim of a miscarriage of justice.
A report in last Saturday's edition of the New York Times said 54-year-old Frederick Lake entered the United States legally in 1987, but was facing deportation under a federal statute that calls for the removal of a lawful alien who is convicted of an aggravated felony.
"Although convicted of robbery in 1991 and released from prison in 1997, Lake has long maintained his innocence," the New York Times reported.
The newspaper reported Governor Spitzer as saying that he issued the pardon at least in part so that Lake, who suffers from heart disease and diabetes, could remain with his wife and two young sons in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, where he has lived since his release from prison 10 years ago.
"Mr Lake has fully served the sentence imposed upon him for his robbery conviction," Spitzer said in a statement. "He had a perfect disciplinary record while in prison, he has had no other arrests or convictions during his lifetime, and he has been living safely and without incident in the community for the last 10 years. No purpose would be served by separating Mr Lake from his many family members who are United States citizens."
Lake, the New York Times reported, was arrested and charged with robbing a payroll company in Inwood, on Long Island in 1989. At his trial in 1991, three people testified that Lake had committed the crime, even though the suspect was initially described as short and stocky and wearing an earring, and Lake was nearly six feet tall and did not have a pierced ear. He also produced airline tickets and passenger manifests that showed he had flown to Jamaica several days before the robbery and returned months later.
"Lawyers dream about cases like this," the New York Times quoted one of Lake's lawyers, John Lewis. "And it's just an enormous privilege to be able to be there, and I think that Governor Spitzer has a lot of courage doing this. It would be hard to find a more worthy subject than Frederick Lake for this distinction."