Author Topic: Citing ‘unfair system,’ Obama commutes sentences for 8 crack offenders  (Read 291 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

SPQR

  • Guest
by Dave Boyer

President Obama on Thursday commuted prison sentences for eight people convicted of crack cocaine offenses, including a cousin of Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, one of the president’s staunchest supporters.

The president pardoned 13 others, surpassing in the fifth year of his presidency all the acts of clemency from his entire first term.

“I am commuting the prison terms of eight men and women who were sentenced under an unfair system,” Mr. Obama said in a statement. “Commuting the sentences of these eight Americans is an important step toward restoring fundamental ideals of justice and fairness.”

Among those whose sentences were commuted is Reynolds Allen Wintersmith Jr., a first cousin of Mr. Patrick. He was sentenced to life after being convicted in Illinois federal court in 1994 on charges related to cocaine possession and conspiracy to distribute cocaine and its products.

Wintersmith was 19 at the time of his arrest. He reportedly was running drugs for a gang called the Gangster Disciples.

Mr. Patrick is among the president’s strongest supporters and has been rumored as a potential replacement for Attorney General Eric H. Holder if and when Mr. Holder leaves his post.

Three years ago, Mr. Obama signed the bipartisan Fair Sentencing Act, which narrowed the disparity of penalties for crimes involving crack and powder cocaine. Those granted clemency Thursday were convicted long before the new law took effect.

“If they had been sentenced under the current law, many of them would have already served their time and paid their debt to society,” Mr. Obama said. “Instead, because of a disparity in the law that is now recognized as unjust, they remain in prison, separated from their families and their communities, at a cost of millions of taxpayer dollars each year.


The president called on Congress to approve further sentencing reform measures to ensure “that our justice system keeps its basic promise of equal treatment for all.”

Mr. Obama granted clemency to only 23 people in his first term. This year, he has commuted sentences or granted pardons for 37 people.

Ronald Reagan signed 250 pardons for federal inmates in his first term; George H.W. Bush authorized 77 in his only term and Bill Clinton, 56 in his first term. George W. Bush granted clemency to 30 federal inmates in his first term.

Mr. Obama’s actions were hailed by Families Against Mandatory Minimums, an advocacy group that urged clemency for several of the people whose sentences were commuted.

“We are excited for the families of those who were granted commutations today, and we are glad that President Obama recognized that these individuals were serving unnecessarily lengthy sentences,” said FAMM President Julie Stewart. “The bottom line, however, is that there are several thousand more where they came from.”

Among those who had their sentences commuted by the president was Clarence Aaron of Mobile, Ala., who was sentenced in 1993 to life in prison for possession with intent to distribute cocaine. His sentence now will expire in April.


Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/dec/19/calling-sentence-disparities-unfair-obama-pardons-/#ixzz2o0Gxuu9U
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter


Offline aligncare

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 18,675
  • Congrats Donald Trump! 45th POTUS!
Re: Citing ‘unfair system,’ Obama commutes sentences for 8 crack offenders
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2013, 08:36:41 AM »
I support Obama's statements and his actions on this matter.

Drug laws are draconian. Minimum sentencing laws are insane – of what use then are judges or facts? But none of this should even be at issue anyway.

An entrepreneur could set up a heroin and cocaine street vending megastore in front of my house and offer his products at wholesale, but I would not buy or use.

An individual makes a decision whether to use or to stay clean. And like everything in life it's a matter of personal responsibility – or at least it should be.

The government should stay out of it.
Some #NeverTrumpers are like the pockets of Japanese who didn't know the war was over

Offline evadR²

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 3,197
Re: Citing ‘unfair system,’ Obama commutes sentences for 8 crack offenders
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2013, 08:47:40 AM »
Well, I'll agree on one thing. The Government should either do it right or get out.
Today's drug laws are just a cluster____ and obviously don't solve the problem.

Of course that's also the answer to everything government does and if implemented would result in the government "getting out" of 99% of what it does.

I have a nephew who has been ruined by drugs..I don't know if he'll ever get clean. He used to be a great kid...now he's nothing more than a street thug.
November 6, 2012, a day in infamy...the death of a republic as we know it.

Online Oceander

  • Technical
  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 42,764
  • #NeverTrumpForever
Re: Citing ‘unfair system,’ Obama commutes sentences for 8 crack offenders
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2013, 09:55:25 PM »
I support Obama's statements and his actions on this matter.

Drug laws are draconian. Minimum sentencing laws are insane – of what use then are judges or facts? But none of this should even be at issue anyway.

An entrepreneur could set up a heroin and cocaine street vending megastore in front of my house and offer his products at wholesale, but I would not buy or use.

An individual makes a decision whether to use or to stay clean. And like everything in life it's a matter of personal responsibility – or at least it should be.

The government should stay out of it.

Actually - and not to defend current drug criminalization laws in the least - it isn't always a wholly voluntary decision to use or not use; many individuals who use do so because they are, in essence, self-medicating for (usually) psychological problems that they haven't identified (or cannot identify) and which no one else has recognized, but for the symptoms of which the drug(s) they use provide relief, at least initially.

Clearly, such an individual chooses a drug to try, and not because they see it as a medication to take to resolve a medical problem, so there isn't the degree of compulsion present that would constitute a legal defense to a criminal charge; however, neither is the choice to use simply a matter of choosing vice over virtue, evil over good.

Consider smokers - and I do, because I am a non-practicing smoker who used to smoke a pack to a pack and a half a day when I was a practicing smoker - many of whom smoke because of an underlying psychological issue that smoking addresses in some way.  I've known a few so-called "social smokers" who may smoke a few cigarettes when they're out with friends, and then not smoke again for weeks or months - clearly for them choosing whether to smoke or not is a matter of mere preference - but for most smokers, like myself, there are only two states:  actively smoking (and smoking a lot) or not smoking at all; there is no in between.  If smoking were criminalized - which it may very well be in a few years' time - then the social smokers would most likely quit; the rest of us?  we'd end up in jail.  Criminalizing what is essentially a medical problem is not the right way to go.


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf