Presidential Commutation of Sentence
Under the right circumstances, the President of the United States may consider a commutation of sentence. If granted, the prisoner would be released from prison, and balance of any prison sentence would be canceled.
Commutation of Sentence Under the Fair Sentencing Act
In 2010, former President Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act. It was intended to reduce unfair sentencing disparities in offenses involving crack cocaine. The problem was that the Fair Sentencing Act did not apply to offenders sentenced before its passage. So, there are now people in federal prison serving sentences under the old law who would be sentenced to substantially less time in prison if they were sentenced under the new law – for the same crime! An individual serving a sentence or any federal crime, including drug crimes, can seek to have their sentence commuted.
In December 2016, President Obama took steps to correct this situation. He commuted the sentences of eight men and women who had served more than 15 years in prison for crack cocaine offenses. The offense was the first offense for two of these people, but the court had no discretion because the sentence was mandatory.
President Obama has directed that he consider additional applications for commutation of sentences to restore fairness and proportionality to people who deserve that consideration. The United States Department of Justice is committed to finding additional people who might qualify for clemency.
Qualifying for Clemency – Federal Sentence Commutation
To qualify for potential clemency, a candidate must have a clean prison record, do not present a threat to public safety, and were sentenced under out-of-date laws that have since been modified because the laws were no longer considered appropriate. Clemency is not limited to just crack offenders, although they are the most obvious candidates. People incarcerated for other offenses may be entitled to a commuted sentence if they meet the following six criteria: they must be (1) inmates who are currently serving a federal sentence in prison and, by operation of law, likely would have received a substantially lower sentence if convicted of the same offense today; (2) are non-violent, low-level offenders without significant ties to large scale criminal organizations, gangs or cartels; (3) have served at least 10 years of their sentence; (4) do not have a significant criminal history; (5) have demonstrated good conduct in prison; and (6) have no history of violence before or during their current term of imprisonment.
It is important that the federal government is taking appropriate steps to correct the mistakes of the prior law. If your rights have been violated or there is another reason for you to seek commutation of a federal sentence, it would be best if you sought the assistance of a qualified, experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney – Federal Commutation of Sentencing
If you know someone who could qualify for a sentence reduction based on the change in sentencing laws, it is essential that you have the assistance of someone that understands the system and works in federal court regularly. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have many years of experience practicing in federal court and have unparalleled knowledge of federal law and procedure. If you have questions regarding possible clemency or anything related to federal law, the attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are available to help.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.