Obama Commmutes 46 Drug Sentences

President Obama has issued 46 grants of clemency to drug offenders.

“These men and women were not hardened criminals. But the overwhelming majority had to be sentenced to at least 20 years,” he said, noting that in his letters to them he made sure they needed to make different choices now that they were free.”But I believe that at its heart, America’s a nation of second chances. And I believe these folks deserve their second chance.”

This isn't even on my front page of Google News, I had to search for it. Google needs a new algorythm or whatever they use to decide what's important enough for the front page and top stories.

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    Web sites (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by ragebot on Mon Jul 13, 2015 at 02:04:22 PM EST
    select headlines to maximize the number of clicks, not importance of the stories linked to.

    A more grabbing headline (none / 0) (#19)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Jul 15, 2015 at 09:03:30 AM EST
    ... might have been, "Commutes Sentences for Unlawful Posession of Firearms."  Clearly drug dealers with firearms are the low risk types.

    So that's 46 down (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Peter G on Mon Jul 13, 2015 at 04:01:21 PM EST
    and 10,000 to go. How many days left in this administration? How many per day would that be?

    Pres. Obama probably gets for (none / 0) (#9)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 13, 2015 at 08:38:08 PM EST
    undocumented persons?

    unintelligible question (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Peter G on Mon Jul 13, 2015 at 09:15:34 PM EST
    please try again

    I was riffing on Trump and the (none / 0) (#11)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 13, 2015 at 09:20:41 PM EST
    oft-deported felonious (drugs) man accused of murder in San Francisco.

    Still have no idea what your point or question is (none / 0) (#13)
    by Peter G on Tue Jul 14, 2015 at 08:54:38 AM EST
    or was. But never mind. The President of the U.S., by the way, has authority to grant clemency (commutations, pardons, etc.) only to federal convicts/prisoners, not folks committed of state crimes.

    For those not aware (none / 0) (#14)
    by jbindc on Tue Jul 14, 2015 at 10:12:44 AM EST
    A Primer

    The Obama administration said last year it was pushing to free nonviolent offenders who were, in the words of former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., "deserving individuals who do not pose a threat to public safety." More than 35,000 inmates have applied for early releases under this new initiative, which is taking a while because it involves such a large number of applications and a complex review system.


    Commutations are not the same thing as presidential pardons, which sounds very obvious if you already know this, but just in case anyone out there is curious, here's a breakdown of how the whole process works.


    When a sentence is commuted, that does not suggest that the person was innocent, according to the Justice Department. It does cut off a sentence, but it does not do away with what are known as "civil disabilities" -- another way of saying that convicted felons can't sit on federal juries or, in some cases, vote.

    A pardon, meanwhile, is something different. When presidents pardon people, they also don't retroactively say that the person was innocent, but they do take away these civil disabilities. In some states, there are also ways for people can regain the right to vote without getting a presidential pardon, but a presidential pardon is still the only way for felons to be allowed to possess firearms.

    Oooh (none / 0) (#18)
    by sj on Tue Jul 14, 2015 at 12:53:32 PM EST
    I am so going to steal that ....

    Hopefully this is just a start (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by CST on Tue Jul 14, 2015 at 11:43:35 AM EST
    And we see a lot more of these in the next year.

    It's in mine (none / 0) (#2)
    by jbindc on Mon Jul 13, 2015 at 02:15:38 PM EST
    But I can't  imagine why anyone would this would rank higher than Hillary Clinton's economic speech, El Chapo, Iran, Greece bailout, etc.

    These are end of term pardons, and he hasn't given many.

    Clinton (none / 0) (#3)
    by ragebot on Mon Jul 13, 2015 at 02:42:40 PM EST
    got around 7k requests for pardons when he was prez, Bush got about 11k, and Obama has already had 19K requests.

    okay... (none / 0) (#5)
    by sj on Mon Jul 13, 2015 at 03:56:41 PM EST
    and how many did he grant out of that 19K?

    153. sj, and Clinton pardoned 457. (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by fishcamp on Mon Jul 13, 2015 at 10:15:13 PM EST
    It's not really fair to compare Dubya's (none / 0) (#8)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Jul 13, 2015 at 04:33:05 PM EST
    pardons.  He had to dispense so many to his cronies that he skewed the curve.

    I am saying nothing (none / 0) (#7)
    by sj on Mon Jul 13, 2015 at 04:25:50 PM EST
    about HRC's speech until I either read it or watch it (preference) for myself in its entirety. I don't trust any synopsis.

    As for the pardons, you're right. He hasn't given many and  they have mostly been so "safe" that he should be embarrassed. A few years of probation in the 60s,70s and 80s. Yawn.

    Obama, who has spoken with eloquence about grace and redemption, has granted fewer pardons (64) than any president since James Garfield (who died from an assassin's bullet in 1881 barely six months after he had been sworn in).

    "He's been unusually stingy -- he's a clemency Grinch," says Douglas Berman, an Ohio State law professor who has studied presidential pardons.
    Even the relatively few pardons Obama has granted -- such as one for an aging bootlegger and another for a man convicted of mutilating coins in the early 1960s -- have been largely trivial, and missed opportunities to correct past injustices or excesses in the criminal justice system, his critics say.

    I haven't seen the full analysis, but this sounds better than I expected, actually.

    Of course, the gift of the pardon does come with the traditional Obama scolding and moralizing.

    "I've made clear to them that re-entering society is going to require responsibility on their part and hard work and smarter choices," the president continued. "But I believe that at it's heart, America's a nation of second chances and I believe these folks deserve their second chance."
    Having rolled my eyes at his need to scold, I will admit that were I one of the 46 I would take my scolding and be done with it, if it got me out of there.

    The way we treat each other is painful (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Mr Natural on Tue Jul 14, 2015 at 10:35:46 AM EST
    to watch.  People happily snarl of "throwing away the key" on someone accused of something.  Sentences of twenty, thirty, fifty years, or life without parole are as common as lice.  The meaning of the toll taken by such sentences on a person's single shot at existence doesn't seem to register on a lot of people.

    Goering was right.  Give people an enemy and they'll do anything you want.  They'll believe anything you tell them.  They'll follow you anywhere.  

    The war on drugs is just another war.  The prison/law enforcement/industrial complex is just another Wehrmacht.  And American citizens are just another enemy.


    Think of the Dollars Goering Could... (none / 0) (#16)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Jul 14, 2015 at 11:23:57 AM EST
    ...command in political consulting fees.

    I think we are at least looking at the corner now.  If anything the above at least proves that politicians aren't running from re-evaluating harsh drug sentencing for non-violent people.  There is a long way to go, but I was a teenager in the 80's and we have come a long way.

    Declaring war on your own citizens and expecting zero use IMO was and will always be a republican fantasy.  People like drugs way too much to stop, regardless the law or the damage they are doing to themselves, people are gonna use.

    To me, and I have said this so many times, but if you can't stop drugs in countries where the penalty can be death, you will never stop them, anywhere, at any point in time.

    There simply is no penalty harsh enough to control drug use.

    I think Goering would love that we don't mind declaring war on our friends, neighbors, and families, but seriously refrain from calling a long lasting military operation, a war.


    Not sure if it means anything (none / 0) (#4)
    by Reconstructionist on Mon Jul 13, 2015 at 03:46:41 PM EST
      but 13 of the 46 are from courts under the 4th Circuit. (There has been significant change but at one time those courts were known for harsh sentences and the 4th for tough sledding on appeal).

      None of them are from the Northeast or the West Coast, and the mountain west and and upper Midwest seem underrepresented.

      There are any number of possible explanations such as some regions just were able to get applications done more expeditiously, but given the 4th, florida and Texas combining for well over half of all the commutations, it might be they are focusing on the districts that were known for draconian sentencing

    Blog headline (none / 0) (#20)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Wed Jul 15, 2015 at 09:05:36 AM EST
    Three m's in Commmute.

    Anything is possible these days (none / 0) (#21)
    by fishcamp on Wed Jul 15, 2015 at 07:30:51 PM EST
    Triple A.