Last week, in the midst of the holiday season, New York's Governor, Kathy Hochul granted clemency to 13 individuals that exhibited remorse, demonstrated the effects of their rehabilitation, and have displayed a commitment to improving themselves and their communities. Among the 13 grantees are two prisoners that are currently serving sentences for murder and a woman that is a domestic violence survivor, in prison for manslaughter for the death of her abuser. Another woman convicted of the same crime was absent from the list.

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Jacqueline Smalls was one of four people to have their sentences commuted. Smalls has served 10 of her 15 years. According to Mike Randall, of Times Herald-Record, she was convicted of manslaughter and two counts each of felony criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance, after an abuser entered her home in violation of two orders of protection. Smalls has served more than 10 years of her 15-year prison sentence.

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In a similar story, a Poughkeepsie woman was noticeably absent from the governor's list this year. Nikki Addimando has been in prison since 2017 for manslaughter. Addimando was convicted of shooting her boyfriend at their Poughkeepsie apartment. The mother of two, 5 and 7, said that her boyfriend threatened to kill her and why wouldn't she believe him?

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According to Chris McKenna of Times Herald-Record, photos and testimony at her trial showed that Nikki Addimando suffered years of physical abuse, including rape and torture. The prosecution proved that Addimando grabbed the gun from her alleged abuser and contributed to the factors leading to the boyfriend's death, manslaughter. She has two and a half years left to serve on her prison term.

The governor did not discuss specific cases that were not granted. There were a total of 9 pardons and 4 commuted sentences. "These grants of clemency serve not only to acknowledge the steps these individuals have taken to rehabilitate themselves, but to remind others that such change is possible and that nobody should be defined by their worst mistake. I am deeply grateful to the Clemency Advisory Panel for their thoughtful work, and I am committed to continuing our efforts to reform the process to best serve New Yorkers." Click here for the complete list of pardons and commuted sentences by Governor Hochul.

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