New York residents may have heard about President Obama’s recent action to commute the sentences of 46 federal inmates, most of whom were serving long prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. According to a statement released by the White House, many of the people whose sentences were commuted would have been sentenced to shorter sentences if they had been convicted under today’s laws.
The recent commutations mean that Obama has now commuted sentences for almost 90 inmates, most of whom were nonviolent drug offenders. In a blog posted by the White House, a spokesperson characterized the sentences as unduly harsh, pointing to the fact that under federal laws, some drug offenders face up to life in federal prison for their crimes.
Reportedly, most of the people whose sentences were commuted faced at least 20 years behind bars, with 14 of them facing lifetime imprisonment. According to the White House, the President is focusing on reforming the federal sentencing laws. Many of the people who were serving sentences were doing so for crack cocaine, under the harsh laws that came about in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Drug charges may lead to extremely long prison sentences. People who are facing such charges may benefit by seeking the help of a criminal defense attorney who is experienced in defending against such allegations. An attorney may review all of the facts to identify the best defensive approach to take. Legal counsel may then help by filing constitutional motions regarding any stop, search or seizure. Attorneys may also be able to help negotiate pleas to sentencing caps or to lower level offenses than the ones that have been charged.
Source: NPR, “White House Announces Commutations For 46 Mostly Nonviolent Offenders,” Krishnadev Calamur, July 13, 2015