Candles for Clemency

April 18 Vigil Postponed
Clemencies on the Threshold

We have good news to report.  After over four years without granting a single clemency to anybody in prison, the Cuomo administration has promised to begin a process of identifying viable candidates for clemency and to begin issuing clemency to those deemed worthy.  This change of heart can, in large part, be attributed to the dedicated work of the people and organizations that joined Candles For Clemency.   We held a rally and a candle light vigil in front of Governor Cuomo’s home last September.  We planned on having a similar, but much larger, vigil in front of his home on April 18.

But the Governor's office heard of our vigil and asked us to meet with his representatives in hopes that we would postpone the Vigil for at least six weeks so that they could start a clemency process. After a very frank meeting, we have decided, in good faith, to honor that request.

We are eager to see whether clemencies start rolling in come mid-May. We will be monitoring very closely and, if not, we will hold our vigil on Saturday, June 13. So please hold the date, just in case!

We want to take this opportunity to thank everybody who is part of Candles For Clemency for your dedication to the cause.  It shows that people can have their voices heard if they organize and are willing to stick their necks out.

We especially want to acknowledge the six members of Congress, and our celebrity hosts, who stepped forward to support the incarcerated deserving of clemency.  Many of those listed on the attached list have long been lobbying the Governor’s Office, yet consented to also be part of the effort of Candles for Clemency. And thanks to the organizations and representatives who have been attending our planning meetings. They have made this all possible.

We will keep you informed of progress towards the issuance of clemencies. If you have any recommendations for people deserving of clemency, please let us know. Also, the administration has a created an internal workgroup and an external website to encourage applicants to apply:

If you know of other organizations and individuals who want to join our list of supporters, again, please let us know. Below is the current list of supporters.

We hope that this effort results in many people behind bars being given a second chance. We hope those worthy of clemency are returned to their loved ones and offered the chance to be respected and productive members of society.

Thank you for your support,

Allen Roskoff
Founder, and Co-Coordinator, Candles for Clemency
President, Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club

Tony Hoffmann
Candles for Clemency Co-Coordinator
Former President, Village Independent Democrats

Candles for Clemency  


Candlelight Vigil
April 18, 2015

Allen Roskoff and Tony Hoffmann





Kathleen Chalfant
The Affair, The Exonerated


Catherine Curtis
Orange Is The New Black


Eve Ensler
Vagina Monologues and Founder of V-Day


Kathryn Erbe
Law and Order

Lee Grant
Academy Award Winner


Deborah Winger
Three Time Academy Award Nominee



Carolyn Maloney

Gregory Meeks

Grace Meng

 Charles Rangel

Jose Serrano

Nydia Velazquez

Democratic Party County Leaders


Frank Seddio, Brooklyn

Keith Wright, Manhattan

Public Advocate


Letitia James

Mark Green (Former)

Borough Presidents


Eric Adams

Gale Brewer

State Senate


Liz Krueger

Gustavo Rivera

Jose Serrano

Tom Duane (Former)

Assembly Members


Rodneyse Bichotte

Michael Blake

Jim Brennan

Deborah Glick

Francisco Moya

Roxanne Persaud

Victor Pichardo

Dan Quart

Rebecca Seawright

Jo Anne Simon

Matt Titone

Keith Wright

Adam Clayton Powell (former)

Frank Seddio (former)



Margaret Chin

Laurie Cumbo

Danny Dromm

Dan Garodnick

Corey Johnson

Benjamin Kallos

Brad Lander

Stephen Levin

Mark Levine

Carlos Menchaca

Rosie Mendez

Ydanis Rodriguez

Helen Rosenthal

Ritchie Torres

Jumaane Williams

Lew Fidler (Former)

Prominent Individuals


Curtis Arluck, DL*

Monte Albers de Leon

Mark Benoit

Keen Berger, DL*

Christian Campbell
Reefer Madness, Big Love, True Detective

Scott Caplan

Gus Christensen

Louise Dankberg, DL*

Jon Del Giorno

Robert Dennison
Former Commissioner of NYS Parole under Gov. Pataki

Sylvia DiPietro, DL*

Bill Dobbs

Kyan Douglas
Queer Eye For The Straight Guy

Mitch Draizin


James Duff
Creator, The Closer, Major Crimes


Hazel Dukes
NAACP New York State

Ethan Eldon
Former Commissioner of Department of Air Resources NYC

Mujahid Farid


Josh Fox
Producer/Director, Gasland


Deni Frand
Former Executive Director,
People for the American Way NY Region*


Emily Jane Goodman
Supreme Court Justice, (Ret)

Michael Hardy
General Council, National Action Network

Nadine Hoffmann
President, Village Independent Democrats

Donna Hylton

Andy Humm
Co-host Gay USA


Phillip Keane
The Closer, Major Crimes


Susan Lerner
Executive Director Common Cause New York State **


Bertha Lewis
The Black Institute


Kate Linker

 Evie Litwok

Sally MacNichol

Mike C. Manning
Disney's Cloud 9, Kidnapped for Christ


Zenaida Mendez
Former President, NOW New York State


Dorothy Muller

Paul Newell, DL*

Ann Northrop
Co-Host Gay USA


Shirley Patterson
Candidate for Assembly, 43rd AD Brooklyn


Jennifer Rajkumar, DL*


Lynn Roberts
PhD- Assistant Professor, Community Health: CUNY**

Bill Samuels

Elaine Schulman
President, Ansonia Independent Democrats

Arthur Schwartz, DL*

Tom Shanahan
Civil Rights Attorney

Rev. Al Sharpton
President, National Action Network

Steven Skyles-Mulligan, DL* 

Tom Smith
Former President, Brooklyn Community Pride Center

Steven W. Smollens, DL* 

David Solomon 

Zephyr Teachout 

Quentin Walcott


Seth Weissman

Jeanne Wilcke

Tim Wu

Faith Leaders

Rev. Dr. Robert l Brashear
Pastor, West Park Presbyterian Church

Rabbi Ayelet Cohen

The Rev. Dr. Peter Heltzel
Micah Institute

Park Avenue Christian Church

Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson
President, Auburn Seminary

Rabbi David Ingber
Founder and Spiritual Director, Romemu

Leah Kozak
Associate Director
Micah Institute at New York Theological Seminary

Rabbi Robert N. Levine DD
Senior Rabbi, Congregation Rodeph Sholom

Rabbi Joy Levitt

The Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis
Senior Minister, Middle Collegiate Church

Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper
Senior Minister, Judson Memorial Church

Father James Sheehan
Educational Ministry Catholic Archdiocese of New York

Rabbi Felicia L. Sol

John Vaughn
Executive Vice President, Auburn Theological Seminary



Ansonia Democratic Club

Brooklyn Community Pride Center

Chelsea Reform Democratic Club

College & Community Fellowship 

Chelsea/West Village for Change

Democracy for NYC

Downtown Independent Democrats 


Five Mualimm-ak

Gotham Greens Local

Gramercy Stuyvesant Independent Democrats 

Greater NYC for Change 

Incarcerated Nation Corp

Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club

Just Leadership USA

Lenox Hill Democratic Club

Manhattan Young Democrats

McManus Democratic Club

NAACP New York State

National Action Network

National Dominican Women’s Caucus

National Lawyers Guild New York City

New Visions Democratic Club

New York County Democratic Committee

Release Aging People in Prison (RAPP) Campaign

Riverside Church Prison Ministry

Samuel J. Tilden Democratic Club

Stonewall Democratic Club

The American Friends Service Committee (NY) 

Micah Institute

Think Outside the Cell

Village Independent Democrats

Village Zendo





*DL Connotes Democratic District Leader
** For Identification Purposes Only



  1. Hon. Eric Adams
  2. George Arzt
  3. Lance Bass
  4. John Blair
  5. Mark Benoit
  6. Hon. Rodneyse Bichotte
  7. Hon. Jonathan Bing
  8. Robin Byrd
  9. Hon. Gale Brewer
  10. Christian Campbell
  11. Gus Christensen
  12. Hon. Martin Connor
  13. Hon. Jon Cooper
  14. Wilson Cruz
  15. Hon. Laurie Cumbo
  16. Alan Cumming
  17. Valorie Curry
  18. Michael Czaczkes
  19. Hon. Bill de Blasio
  20. Jon Del Giorno
  21. Aries Dela Cruz
  22. Kyan Douglas
  23. Hon. Daniel Dromm
  24. James Duff
  25. Hon. Ronnie Eldridge
  26. Hon. Rafael Espinal
  27. Hon. Herman Farrell
  28. Hon. Alan Fleishman
  29. Hon. Dan Garodnick
  30. Dan Gettleman
  31. Emily Jane Goodman
  32. Hon. Mark Green
  33. Tony Hoffmann
  34. Hon. Brad Hoylman
  35. Binn Jakupi
  36. Hon. Letitia James
  37. Hon. Corey Johnson
  38. Camille Joseph
  39. Phillip Keane
  40. Greg Lambert
  41. Dodge Landesman
  42. Marc Landis
  43. Phillip McCarthy
  44. Matt McMorrow
  45. Michael Mallon
  46. Mike C. Manning
  47. Cathy Marino-Thomas
  48. Hon. Carlos Menchaca
  49. Hon. Rosie Mendez
  50. John Cameron Mitchell
  51. Donny Moss
  52. Barry Mullineaux
  53. Hon. Paul Newell
  54. Denis O'Hare
  55. Noah Pfefferbilt
  56. Josue Pierre
  57. Bob Pontarelli
  58. Billy Porter
  59. Randy Rainbow
  60. Hon. Jenifer Rajkumar
  61. Hon. Gustavo Rivera
  62. Hon. Helen Rosenthal
  63. Maer Roshan
  64. Toby Russo
  65. Bill Samuels
  66. James Sansum
  67. Scott Sartiano
  68. Hon. Arthur Schwartz
  69. Lynn Schulman
  70. Frank Selvaggi
  71. Rev. Al Sharpton
  72. Hon. Jo Anne Simon
  73. Tom Smith
  74. Anne Strahle
  75. Hon. Scott Stringer
  76. Wayne Sunday
  77. Hon. Bill Thompson
  78. Hon. Matt Titone
  79. Hon. Ritchie Torres
  80. Sam Underwood
  81. Derek Walker
  82. Jessica Walter
  83. Patricia Nell Warren
  84. Wil Weder
  85. Seth Weissman
  86. Mel Wymore
  87. Emma Wolfe
  88. Hon. Keith Wright
  89. Zephyr Teachout