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President Obama commutes nearly 1,400 drug sentences

In continuing what appears to be a trend towards more allowance of drugs in the United States, former President Barack Obama, in one of his final moves while in office, granted clemency for 209 federal prisoners last Tuesday, January 17, 2017, a vast majority of whom were serving time for non-violent drug related crimes. To date, President Obama had nearly 1,400 sentences commuted, the most for any President.

Jessie Jackson Sloan, national director of the #cut50 campaign, said that the sentences broke up families and harmed residents in vulnerable communities. He went on to say, "...more than a thousand people who were given overly harsh sentences during the War on Drugs now have a second chance at freedom."

While this will undoubtedly change the lives of those who received clemency or a commuted sentence, those who have been charged with a drug crime cannot assume or expect to have their sentences reduced or commuted if found guilty. Drug crimes are still taken very seriously in the United States. A guilty verdict will leave a suspect with substantial fines, substantial prison time, a possible drug rehabilitation requirement while in prison, and additional hurdles once a sentence is fulfilled such as limitations as to where one can live, and a criminal record that may also affect future employment.

If you are facing drug charges, it is important to protect your future by having a strong defense team at your side. A knowledgeable and successful defense team may be able to initiate a favorable plea deal to avoid trial, or may even be able to have a sentence reduced or dismissed, depending upon the situation and factors of the arrest.

Source: Huffington Post, "Along with Chelsea Manning, Obama Granted Hundreds Of Federal Drug Offenders Early Freedom," By Ryan J. Reilly, Jan. 17, 2017

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