Louisiana Governor Grants Rapper McKinley ‘Mac’ Phipps Clemency


Phipps, or “Mac,” as his followers know him, has served 21 years of a 30-year sentence within the taking pictures demise of a teenage fan at a live performance in Slidell, Louisiana, in 2000. Phipps, 22 on the time, has at all times maintained he was not concerned within the crime. Supporting his declare is one other man’s confession to the taking pictures, which was discounted by prosecutors; a key witness who recanted her testimony in 2015, revealing she was coerced by the district legal professional; 4 different witnesses on the nightclub who mentioned they had been threatened or ignored by authorities; and the usage of his lyrics towards him at trial, amongst different flaws in his conviction highlighted by a sequence of HuffPost investigative studies in 2015.

“We’re nearing the end line in a protracted fought battle in securing McKinley’s freedom,” his spouse, Angelique Phipps, mentioned in an announcement to HuffPost. “Whereas he nonetheless has the upcoming parole listening to and no definitive launch date, we’re relieved, grateful, and looking out ahead to the longer term.”

The governor’s workplace confirmed Thursday night that Phipps had been granted clemency.

On Feb. 22, Phipps appeared earlier than the Louisiana Board of Pardons and Committee on Parole, which voted unanimously that he be made eligible instantly for parole. The governor’s workplace reviewed the advice in March.

“As you’re doubtless conscious, many clemency purposes are submitted annually and solely a small quantity are authorized. This letter is to tell you that I’ve granted your software,” the governor wrote in a March 29 letter addressed to Phipps, obtained by HuffPost. “I congratulate you in your efforts to show your life round and remind you that it’s as much as you to take advantage of out of this chance.”

Throughout his time at Elayn Hunt Correctional Middle in St. Gabriel, Lousiana, Phipps served as president of the Music Affiliation, started faculty research and acted as a licensed mentor for a number of teams, his spouse mentioned at his February parole listening to.

The Louisiana Structure provides the governor energy to grant clemency, together with within the type of a pardon or commutation. Phipps should seem earlier than the parole board as soon as extra earlier than receiving a launch date. That listening to is ready for June 22.

A spokesperson for the governor’s workplace instructed HuffPost on March 22 that “clemency is one thing the governor takes very severely.”

“Every file acquired by his workplace is in depth and is given a really considerate and thorough assessment,” the spokesperson mentioned. 

A clemency grant acknowledges an individual’s efforts in self-development. It doesn’t exonerate Phipps. Nonetheless, his legal professional Stanton Jones has began a authorized effort that would reverse his conviction, primarily based on a separate concern involving his 2001 trial.

Phipps was convicted by a divided jury. Louisiana was one in all two states that allowed non-unanimous jury verdicts on the time. In every other state apart from Oregon, the break up verdict alone would have resulted in a hung jury and retrial.

The U.S. Supreme Courtroom dominated final yr that non-unanimous jury verdicts ― a legislation with deeply racist origins ― are unconstitutional nationwide. The court docket is anticipated to determine by the tip of June if that call applies retroactively.

Phipps’ legal professional filed a post-conviction aid software in March primarily based on final yr’s ruling. Pending the choice, he could possibly reverse the conviction and have the case tossed out.


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