Readers may remember that, back in April, President Obama exercised his power of commutation by reducing prison sentences for 22 inmates in federal prisons. Many of these inmates had been serving out lengthy prison terms on convictions for non-violent drug offenses. Just last month, President Obama exercised his power of commutation again, reducing sentences for another 46 drug offenders.
The most recent batch of prison sentence reductions also involved nonviolent drug offenders, and was an effort to address inequities in the criminal system, many of them stemming from a sentencing scheme that was put in place during the height of the so-called War on Drugs. As readers may be aware, President Obama has demonstrated concern about reforming the criminal justice system during his time in office, and has approved nearly 90 commutations.
President Obama has apparently commuted more prison sentences than any president since Lyndon B. Johnson, and it will be interesting to see what steps he takes toward reform of the system prior to leaving office.
Of course, no matter what ends up happening with respect to federal drug policy, those accused of such crimes will continue to need the guidance and advocacy of an experienced defense attorney. This is especially the case for first-time offenders and nonviolent offenders, who may have a better opportunity than other defendants to minimize the consequences of criminal charges. No matter the circumstances of the case, though, working with an experienced defense attorney can ensure one’s rights are protected throughout the criminal process.