New York law enforcement officials probably heard that on his last full day in office, Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 330 inmates serving sentences for drug crimes. During his tenure in office, Obama had argued that there were systemic problems that led to harsh sentencing, but he was unable to push reforms through Congress. However, he commuted more sentences than any other president in history, a total of more than 1,700.
August had been set as the deadline for applying for a commutation before Obama left office, and applications came pouring in. The cases of all of the inmates whose sentences were commuted were fully reviewed by Obama, and he tended to choose people who had shown an effort to change their lives. Those applying for commutation were also required to have good behavior and to have served at least 10 years of their sentence although there were exceptions.
One man will be released in 2019. At the time of his commutation, he had served 12 years of a 22-year sentence after selling cocaine and marijuana to an undercover officer with his brother. Although the man’s brother had obtained the cocaine, the man received a longer sentence due to a criminal history. As a condition of his release, he will be required to attend a residential drug treatment program.
Whether people are facing drug charges for the first time or have been charged in the past, drug crime convictions can lead to serious penalties. Depending on their individual circumstances, they may want to discuss different strategies with their attorney. For example, if their rights were violated during the investigation, they might seek to get their cases dismissed.