In 2010 Congress passed the Fair Sentencing Act (Public Law 111-220), signed by President Obama on August 3, 2010. Through this law a reduction of the sentencing disparity between offenses for crack and powder cocaine moved from 100:1 to an 18:1 ratio, thus reducing the amount of time that an individual serves in prison. On December 19, 2013 President Obama granted full release pardons to thirteen individuals and granted reduction of sentence commutations to eight including the following Collin County resident of McKinney Texas.
Jason Hernandez – McKinney, Texas
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute controlled substances; possession with intent to distribute and distribute crack cocaine and methamphetamine; possession with intent to distribute a mixture of methamphetamine and cocaine hydrochloride; distribution of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a protected property; establishing a place for manufacture and distribution of controlled substances (Eastern District of Texas)
Sentence: Life imprisonment; eight years supervised release; $5,000 fine (Oct. 2, 1998)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to 240 months (20 years)
Statement by President Obama on Clemency
Three years ago, I signed the bipartisan Fair Sentencing Act, which dramatically narrowed the disparity between penalties for crack and powder cocaine offenses. This law began to right a decades-old injustice, but for thousands of inmates, it came too late. If they had been sentenced under the current law, many of them would have already served their time and paid their debt to society. Instead, because of a disparity in the law that is now recognized as unjust, they remain in prison, separated from their families and their communities, at a cost of millions of taxpayer dollars each year.
Today, I am commuting the prison terms of eight men and women who were sentenced under an unfair system. Each of them has served more than 15 years in prison. In several cases, the sentencing judges expressed frustration that the law at the time did not allow them to issue punishments that more appropriately fit the crime.
Commuting the sentences of these eight Americans is an important step toward restoring fundamental ideals of justice and fairness. But it must not be the last. In the new year, lawmakers should act on the kinds of bipartisan sentencing reform measures already working their way through Congress. Together, we must ensure that our taxpayer dollars are spent wisely, and that our justice system keeps its basic promise of equal treatment for all.
President Obama granted Commutation to the following eight individuals:
- Reynolds Allen Wintersmith, Jr. – Rockford, Ill.
- Billy Ray Wheelock – Belton, Tex.
- Ricky Eugene Patterson – Fort Pierce, Fla.
- Jason Hernandez – McKinney, Tex.
- Helen Alexander Gray – Ty Ty, Ga.
- Ezell Gilbert – Tampa, Fla.
- Stephanie Yvette George – Pensacola, Fla.
- Clarence Aaron – Mobile, Ala.
President Obama granted Pardons to the following thirteen individuals:
- William Ricardo Alvarez – Marietta, Ga.
- Charlie Lee Davis, Jr. – Wetumpka, Ala.
- Ronald Eugene Greenwood – Crane, Mo.
- Joe Hatch – Lake Placid, Fla.
- Martin Alan Hatcher. – Foley, Ala.
- Derek James Laliberte – Auburn, Me.
- Alfred J. Mack – Manassas, Va.
- Robert Andrew Schindler – Goshen, Va.
- Willie Shaw, Jr. – Myrtle Beach, S.C.
- Kimberly Lynn Stout – Bassett, Va.
- Bernard Anthony Sutton, Jr. – Norfolk, Va.
- Chris Deann Switzer – Omaha, Neb.
- Miles Thomas Wilson – Williamsburg, Ohio.
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