Tynes asks president to commute brother's sentence

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Placekicker Lawrence Tynes of the Super Bowl champion New York Giants has asked the Bush administration to commute a lengthy sentence given to his brother for distributing marijuana.

Tynes, who kicked the winning field goal in the NFC title game in January, maintains that the 27-year sentence his brother Mark is serving in a federal facility in Arkansas was excessive for the crime.

"My brother is not asking for a pardon, he is asking for a commutation, which would reduce his sentence," Tynes said Wednesday after the Giants finished practice for Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins.

"By no means is he asking to be freed tomorrow," Tynes said. "He deserves to be spending time -- the 27 years is something that we think is a little steep."

Mark Tynes was convicted in 2004 of two counts of marijuana distribution for his part in a plan to move 18 tons of marijuana between Texas and Florida.

The 31-year-old Tynes refused to cooperate after his arrest. Four childhood friends testified against him and received sentences ranging from 21 months to five years.

Tynes has run out of appeals to reduce his sentence.

Lawrence Tynes said federal prisoners normally serve 90 percent of their sentences, which would be at least 24 years.

He hired Robert A. Ortiz, an attorney who is the finance chairman for the New Jersey Republican State Committee, to work on the commutation appeal.

Ortiz, who was recommended to Tynes by friends involved in politics, said Wednesday he started preparing the necessary forms two months ago and expects to file the paperwork early next week with the Justice Department's Office of the Pardon Attorney.

"We had to wait until Mark got a final denial in the appeal process" before actually filing, he said.

Earlier this week, President George W. Bush granted pardons to 14 individuals and commuted the prison sentences of two others. Lawrence Tynes hopes the president will consider his brother's case before leaving office on Jan. 20.

The five-year NFL veteran said there are some people who don't believe his brother deserves clemency.

"But at this point in time, it's kind of like the 'Hail Mary' pass," Tynes said. "It's worth a shot. It's part of the process, so why not use it."

Tynes met Bush this spring when the Giants visited the White House after winning the Super Bowl, and he said it was ironic he was appealing to him now.

"But you know what, he'll make the right decision," Tynes said. "We're just keeping our fingers crossed right now."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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