Due to the exceptional efforts of Rachel Herd and Mark Bartlett of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, Robbie Burton was recently released after being granted clemency in 2018. His transformation and commitment to sobriety is driven by an optimistic attitude that is incredibly infectious to those privileged enough to know Robbie, and it will undoubtedly underpin his success.
Robbie Burton was given a sentence of life without the possibility of parole in 1995 for his third strike conviction of first-degree robbery and taking of a motor vehicle. After serving twenty-two years of this life sentence, Robbie was able to convince himself, his support network, the Clemency and Pardons Board, and the governor of the incredible transformation that has taken place.
63 years old at the time of his hearing, Robbie is not only an example of an individual who has aged out of his criminal behavior, but he has additionally found ways to be an asset to society. Robbie is an incredible, self-taught artist that has found his identity and self-worth through expressing himself creatively. His murals are displayed throughout correctional facilities and has provided a source of income for himself and his family while incarcerated. A foundational component of his self-reflection has been his utmost dedication to sobriety illustrated by over a decade of consistent attendance at Narcotics Anonymous and his inspiration and sponsorship of other individuals’ journeys toward sobriety.
With twenty-two individuals in attendance at his hearing and four speaking on his behalf, it is clear that Robbie has a strong support network that has been instrumental in his transition back to society. Extraordinarily, the victim of Robbie’s crime even supported his petition for clemency as she believed that the time served was sufficient. He has since followed through on his release plan by working for his former employer, an auto dealership, and staying connected to his NA sponsor in Yakima.
The success of his petition relied on the effective communication of his extraordinary circumstances by his pro bono attorneys. His optimism and investment in personal development have afforded Robbie a second chance at life, and he has expressed his deep commitment to succeed for all those that have supported him and to ensure this opportunity for other incarcerated individuals.