News release from governor on commuting John White's sentence

A file photo of New York Gov. David A file photo of New York Gov. David Paterson at the Capitol in Albany. (May 18, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

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New York Gov. David A. Paterson announced Thursday that he was commuting the sentence of John White, of Miller Place.

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This was part of the official news release put out by the governor's office:

Governor David A. Paterson today announced that he has commuted the prison sentence of John White to time served. The commutation is conditioned upon Mr. White not engaging in subsequent violation of law.

"Our society strives to be just, but the pursuit of justice is a difficult and arduous endeavor," Governor Paterson said. "While the incident and Mr. White's trial engendered much controversy and comment, and varying assessments of justice were perceived, its most common feature was heartbreak. My decision today may be an affront to some and a joy to others, but my objective is only to seek to ameliorate the profound suffering that occurred as a result of this tragic event."

John Harris White was convicted by a jury trial of Manslaughter in the Second Degree and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree following a fateful incident on August 9, 2006 in Miller Place, N.Y. in which a young man was killed due to a gunshot fired by Mr. White. The incident was characterized by fear, stress, panic, anger, confusion, misunderstanding and a clash of values and impulses, all in a period of less than three minutes.

"On August 9, 2006, a young life was lost, beliefs were challenged, lives were ruined and a community became distraught. No one intended this, yet everyone suffered," the Governor continued. "I am deeply saddened by the events of that day and am committed to working to heal the pain that it has caused to the affected families and community. The action I am taking today is one of understanding, forgiveness and hope, which I believe are the essential components of justice."

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