A Marine veteran issued a plea to Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey to commute his sentence after a gun possession conviction landed him behind bars.
On April 14, only days before he was due to report to prison, Christie commuted the veteran's sentence.
"We're all humans," said Hisashi Pompey, who has several medals from three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to WABC-TV. "Humans make mistakes."
Pompey was scheduled to report to prison on April 17 to begin serving a three-year term for an incident that happened six years ago, in which a friend got into a fight in front of a New Jersey nightclub, grabbed Pompey's gun and wielded it at police officers before being arrested.
No shots were fired, but Pompey was charged with unlawfully possessing a handgun, for which he had a Virginia permit but not a New Jersey one.
"I'm not a troublemaker," Pompey said. "I don't cause trouble. I don't do anything bad. It was just a common mistake that I made."
But under a series of New Jersey laws, passed several years ago to crack down on gun violence by gang members, the veteran was subject to a mandatory minimum sentence for possessing the firearm.
"The only hope is for Gov. Christie to exercise his power of pardon," said Pompey's attorney, Evan Nappen, before the news of the commutation came. "Gov. Christie in the past has stepped up and helped worthy individuals, and it's my hope and prayer that he does the same for Sgt. Pompey."
Nappen pointed out that Christie had absolutely no obligation "to do or say anything," as it is "completely discretionary," but expressed hope the governor would put a stop to what he called a waste of taxpayer money that would serve only to ruin Pompey's life.
Pompey is married with three children, the youngest of whom is 20 months old, notes WUSA. When the incident happened, Pompey was a member of the military police but has since been discharged because of the felony.
"You're supposed to look out for your veterans and take care of them, but this same country that he fought for is sending him to jail, and it's hard to sleep at night thinking this is the country I live in," said Pompey's wife, Stacey, before the email came from the governor.
Because of Pompey's case, New Jersey legislators changed the law that is landing him in prison. Had the incident happened today, he would not have been charged.