Legal Aid Society


Alfonzo Riley Uses His Second Chance to Seek Clemency for Others

Alfonzo Riley, a paralegal in The Legal Aid Society’s Wrongful Conviction Unit, was recently profiled by The Appeal.

Riley was incarcerated for his role in a 1988 drug deal that ended in a homicide. Although he did not pull the trigger and was actually nowhere near the shooting, he was charged under New York’s controversial felony murder law and sentenced to 71 years to life. After being in prison for three decades, he was finally granted clemency and released in early 2019.

At the Legal Aid Society, Riley is part of a team that reviews claims of innocence, working to help to those who were wrongfully convicted achieve the vindication they seek and deserve.

Riley also believes that there are many others who deserve the second chance that he received.

“There are many more men and women incarcerated in New York who I believe deserve clemency and who have moved toward transforming their lives from whatever moment or mistake that led to their incarceration,” Riley said. “I believe that many of them are not the same people that they were when whatever offense was committed, and they’re deserving of clemency as well.”

Read Alfonzo’s story here.