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Obama Commutes Sentences of Crack Cocaine Offenders

 

President Obama has commuted the sentences of eight people convicted of crack cocaine offenses. He said in a statement, “Commuting the sentences of these eight Americans is an important step towards restoring the fundamental ideals of justice and fairness.”

 

Commenting that the persons had been “sentenced under an unfair system,” the President said, “If they had been sentenced under the current law, many of them would have already served their time and paid their debt to the society.”



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Referring to the bipartisan Fair Sentencing Act that was passed three years ago, Obama said about the former crack cocaine convicts, “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.”

 

In his statement the President called for further sentencing reform and urged the Congress to ensure “that our justice system keeps its basic promise of equal treatment of all.”One of the convicts who received clemency includes Reynolds Allen Wintersmith Jr., a first cousin of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. Patrick is seen as a potential replacement for Attorney General Eric Holder. Wintersmith was 19 at the time he was arrested for cocaine possession and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. He was reportedly running drugs for a street gang called the Gangster Disciples.

 

Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance said, “Kudos to President Obama for commuting these eight people, but shame on the president for not commuting many more. With over 100,000 people still in federal prison on nonviolent drug charges, clearly thousands more are deserving of the same freedom.”

 

The President has indicated that he wants the Congress to make the Fair Sentencing Act retroactive, because clemency cannot be a solution on a large scale.

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Posted by on December 20, 2013. Filed under Legal News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • CharleyX

    And of course, none of the pardoned convicts were related to any Massachusetts politicians. LOL!

  • Eric

    While the President is correct that the drug laws are unjust, he is so wrong on the reason why that it is scary. The drug laws are unjust because they violate individuals’ rights (i.e., they initiate force against innocent persons who have not themselves used force against anyone). The President thinks that they are unjust because, of those convicted under the laws, the percentage who are Black is higher than the percentage of Black persons in society in general–the so-called “disparity in the law.” To the President, it doesn’t matter what the *substance* of the law is and whether or not it is justifiable, it only matters *who* gets convicted under the law (and most importantly what their race is). Under the President’s rationale, the law would be perfectly fine as long as the race-breakdown of people convicted matched the demographics of the population as a whole. As if convicting a White person under the law is somehow just, while convicting a Black person is somehow unjust. This is ridiculous … no, it is more than that, … it is collectivism in its ugliest form–racism. All the President sees is race… not individuals, and certainly not individual rights. In reality, the law is unjust no matter who it is applied against or what their race is. It is unjust to convict a Black person under this law, but it is just as unjust to convict a person of any other race under the law.