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Patterson Belknap Helps Secure Grants of Clemency for Two Pro Bono Clients


Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP is pleased to announce that New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today granted executive clemency to and commuted the sentences of two of its pro bono clients, Michael Crawford and Dennis Woodbine.

For several years, Patterson Belknap has handled clemency petitions for deserving clients who have made strong efforts to turn their lives around while incarcerated. In 2017, the Governor commuted the sentence of Patterson Belknap pro bono client, Michael Flournoy. This years successful petitions for clemency on behalf of Messrs. Crawford and Woodbine continue the Firms tradition of representing deserving individuals whose rehabilitative efforts merit reduced sentences. All three of them served substantial portions of their lengthy prison sentences, pursued college and even graduate degrees while incarcerated, and volunteered their services to and initiated projects for various programs that give back to society at large.

The Firm is thrilled that two of our clients, Messrs. Crawford and Woodbine, have been granted executive clemency this year, said Patterson Belknaps Kathrina Szymborski, who co-heads the Firms clemency project. Given their demonstrated rehabilitative efforts, their extraordinary educational accomplishments, and their commitments to bettering their communities, we firmly believe that these two gentlemen will thrive following their release from prison. We commend the Governor for his continued focus on moving New York toward a fairer and more compassionate criminal justice system as reflected in these sentence commutations.

Lisa E. Cleary, Patterson Belknaps Co-Chair and Managing Partner, added: Our Firm and our partner in this project, the Pro Bono Committee of the New York County Lawyers Association, are very pleased with Governor Cuomos decision to commute the sentences of two of our clients. Providing equal access to justice for underserved populations is at the core of our Firms pro bono program.

Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP is a New York City based law firm with approximately 200 lawyers. The Firm is included on The American Lawyers 2018 A-List of the 20 leading law firms in the United States. Patterson Belknap delivers a full range of litigation and commercial law services. For more information, please visit

Jason Milch, 312-379-9406

Lisa Smith, 212-336-2995

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