A Surprising Second Chance : When a Dumb Mistake as a Kid Becomes a Full Pardon by the Florida Governor
How did Jeremy Nye, a young, smart, kind-hearted man, have a case that became one of the top five moments within my (Adam Rossen’s) entire legal career? Well, when good people work hard to fix their life, we work even harder to do the same legally.
All the way back in 2003, Jeremy was hanging out with his friends at the time, who he later realized were bad influences who thrived off of peer pressure and dumb decisions. When he got caught with an ounce of weed in his car, Jeremy was devastated. He was scared that he would have to live his life branded as a convicted criminal or, even worse, with the ‘F’ word: Felon.
When Jeremy realized what his life had come to, he quickly turned himself around and worked hard to make things right. He used his tenacious attitude to graduate college with an Associates and Bachelor's degree from the University of Central Florida. Later that same year, Jeremy traveled to Israel for Birthright, a free trip for young, Jewish adults to experience their culture and faith firsthand.
Jeremy fell so deeply in love with Israel that he applied to become a legal citizen, allowing him to move there in 2010. While in Israel, Jeremy joined the Israeli Defense Forces, wanting to help protect the country whose people helped move his life back onto the right path. He started his military career as a Combat Soldier, eventually working his way up to Sergeant in 2013.
That same year, Jeremy had found out that his father and grandfather were sick and needed his full attention in America. Jeremy dropped everything to be by their side, doing whatever he could to show his support and love until they passed away.
While Jeremy was in the States caring for his family, he decided that he wanted to become a police officer to protect America just as he had done so honorably in Israel. However, there was one problem that he encountered along the way: the label of a convicted felon took away Jeremy’s right to own a firearm in Florida.
That’s when I met Jeremy for the first time after his father and brother referred him to our office. Jeremy wanted to find a way to get his rights back, and after talking to him once, I was convinced. Jeremy made one bad decision but worked for years trying to restore his life, and I wanted to help him get a full pardon to do just that.
In 2015 Jeremy moved back to Israel to continue fighting in the military but resigned in 2016 so that he could move to Colorado to be closer to his mom and the rest of his family. While there, Jeremy exercised his entrepreneurial and go-getter spirit to start a company called Battle Patches. The company worked to design patches for military clothing, with a portion of the proceeds being donated to helping veterans. Jeremy also used his time to volunteer at the local Humane Society and for the local Veterans Disaster Response Team.
Six years later, we finally received a hearing date from the Florida Clemency Board, headed by Governor Ron DeSantis. Jeremy and I spent countless hours working on his speech, writing and rewriting, and then writing some more. After I thought we had the perfect message for the Governor to hear, it was time to fly out.
The trip to Tallahassee was almost as much of a journey as the case itself since I started working on it in 2013. I flew up in a 34 seat turbo plane, something that looked like it belonged on the set of an adventure movie. When we finally arrived, I spent the rest of the night in the hotel going over everything with Jeremy, knowing that the next 24 hours could change his life forever.
There was one bump in the road that made me feel especially nervous going into the hearing that morning. The committee that recommends whether people should be pardoned or not told the Cabinet that Jeremy was only partially approved. I knew that the council did not know Jeremy like I did, and wanted to use the day to show the world this selfless person that Jeremy has become.
When we got to the hearing, we sat and watched in awe of people being denied their pardons on the spot with no explanation given. You could see the goosebumps from nerves on my arms, but I hid those feelings from Jeremy as I was confident that he would be the outlier.
After four hours of tears, speeches, and denials, it was finally our turn to address the Governor. I wanted to act as the conductor, just introducing Jeremy and letting him work his magic and tell his story to the Cabinet.
This was even more vital as we only had 10 minutes to plead our case. I also had his friend fly in from Colorado to give her testimony about how Jeremy was able to turn his life around.
Not even halfway through the 10 minutes when Jeremy finished his speech, the Governor, and the other three Cabinet members Ashley Moody, Jimmy Patronis and Nikki Fried, granted his pardon unanimously on the spot. You could see members of the audience filled with tears as Jeremy broke down on the spot. Strangers even came up to Jeremy and me after the hearing to congratulate him and wish him good luck with his future career of law enforcement.
This was an unforgettable experience in both my legal and personal careers, as I was able to watch someone, who became a good friend of mine, correct his mistakes and get a second chance. A few months ago, Jeremy was unable to do what he loves and protect his country; now, Jeremy is a free man!
Sometimes good people make a bad decision, and they should not have to spend their entire life suffering from that one mistake. I would like to give a special thank you to the Governor and Cabinet Members who granted Jeremy’s full pardon.
I would also like to thank Jeremy for entrusting me with your future and believing that Rossen Law Firm and I could get you the full pardon that you deserve. We are so excited to have a good guy like Jeremy become an even better police officer and person as a whole.
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