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Obama continues to commute sentences of federal inmates

The record-setting number of sentence commutations granted by President Obama could ultimately shift harsh attitudes toward drug offenders in Texas. The White House counsel emphasized that the president was using his clemency powers to bring attention to the harsh sentences often given to people convicted of nonviolent drug crimes.

The counsel called the laws that required long sentences for many crimes outdated. He said that the president plans to commute more sentences and urge legislators to reform sentencing laws that mandate lengthy prison terms and even life sentences for drug law violations.

The last 10 presidents combined have not commuted as many sentences as President Obama, who has so far given 673 people a second chance. Over one-third of those people had life sentences, like one man, who at the age of 25, was sent to federal prison for life for possessing with an intent to deliver LSD at Grateful Dead concerts. Onerous sentencing guidelines have been blamed for overcrowding in federal prisons. In 1980, federal prisons held less than 25,000 people. Currently, over 200,000 inmates are incarcerated in such facilities.

Because people charged with drug crimes could face heavy penalties if a conviction is obtained, a person taken into custody for drug offenses might find it advisable to obtain the representation of a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A conviction on drug trafficking charges can lead to lengthy prison terms and high fines, and thus it will be important to construct an appropriate strategy to combat those allegations. There could be a variety of affirmative defenses such as entrapment or duress that could be raised if appropriate.

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R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
1545 Heights Blvd. Suite 600
Houston, TX 77008

Phone: 713-752-2728 | Fax: 713-650-1602
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