President Obama commutes Cleveland man's life sentence - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

President Obama commutes Cleveland man's life sentence

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama commuted sentences of 22 inmates around the nation. (Source: Raycom Media) On Tuesday, President Barack Obama commuted sentences of 22 inmates around the nation. (Source: Raycom Media)
WASHINGTON D.C. (WOIO) - On Tuesday, President Barack Obama commuted sentences of 22 inmates, including Clevelander Antwon Rogers.

The White House issued the following statement on its website: 

"Building on his commitment to address instances of unfairness in sentencing, President Obama granted 22 commutations today to individuals serving time in federal prison. Had they been sentenced under current laws and policies, many of these individuals would have already served their time and paid their debt to society. Because many were convicted under an outdated sentencing regime, they served years — in some cases more than a decade — longer than individuals convicted today of the same crime.

In total, the 22 commutations granted today underscore the President's commitment to using all the tools at his disposal to bring greater fairness and equity to our justice system. Further, they demonstrate how exercising this important authority can remedy imbalances and rectify errors in sentencing. Added to his prior 21 commutations, the President has now granted 43 commutations total. To put President Obama's actions in context, President George W. Bush commuted 11 sentences in his eight years in office.

To further this progress, the President has established a clemency initiative to encourage individuals who were sentenced under outdated laws and policies to petition for commutation. At his direction, significant reforms have followed, such as the promulgation of new criteria for potential commutation candidates to meet, including those who pose no threat to public safety, have a clean record in prison, and have been sentenced under out-of-date laws. In addition, the Department of Justice has raised awareness about how to petition for commutation to ensure that every federal inmate who believes they are deserving of this invaluable second chance has the opportunity to ask for it.

Underscoring the responsibility that a commutation brings, the President penned a letter to each of the 22 individuals receiving clemency today, recognizing their potential to overcome the mistakes they made and encouraging them to make good choices moving forward.

While today's announcement represents important progress, there's more work ahead. The Administration will continue to work to review thoroughly all petitions for clemency. And, while commutation is an important tool for those seeking justice and fairness in our penal system, it is nearly always an option of last resort, coming after a lengthy court process and many years behind bars. That is why President Obama is committed to working with Democrats and Republicans on sensible reforms to our criminal justice system that aim to give judges more discretion over mandatory minimum sentencing. As the Department of Justice has noted, mandatory minimum sentences have at times resulted in harsher penalties for non-violent drug offenders than many violent offenders and are not necessary for prosecutions at this level.

Already, one significant reform has become law. In 2010, the President signed the Fair Sentencing Act, which reduced the disparity in the amounts of powder cocaine and crack cocaine required for the imposition of mandatory minimum penalties. The President is encouraged by the bipartisan support for improving our criminal justice system, including promising legislation that would implement front-end changes in sentencing. In addition, he supports bipartisan efforts to provide back-end support through better education and job training for those currently incarcerated and to reform of our juvenile justice system to build on the significant reductions in the number of youth being held in secure facilities.

Ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system will require ongoing efforts to invest in the types of programs that help prevent individuals from turning to crime, like education and jobs, as well as changes to our sentencing laws to ensure that the punishment really does fit the crime. As we work to make those improvements, the President will continue to use his clemency authority in certain instances where justice, fairness, and proportionality demand it, and to give eligible and worthy individuals who have paid their debt to society a chance to contribute in meaningful ways."

Commutations were granted to the following individuals:

Terry Andre Barnes – East Moline, IL

Offense:  Conspiracy to distribute cocaine base; supervised release violation (distribution of cocaine base) (Southern District of Iowa)

Sentence:  246 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (July 25, 2005)

Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2015. 

Theresa Brown – Pompano Beach, FL

Offense:  Conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine (Southern District of Florida)

Sentence:  Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Mar. 29, 1995)

Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2015. 

Donel Marcus Clark – Dallas, TX

Offense:  Conspiracy; use of a communication facility (five counts); distribution and/or possession of cocaine or manufacturing in or near a school facility, aiding and abetting (Northern District of Texas)

Sentence:  420 months' imprisonment; four years' supervised release (Nov. 12, 1993); amended to 360 months' imprisonment (August 20, 2008)

Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2015.

Ricky Bernard Coggins – Tallahassee, FL

Offense:  Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine base (Northern District of Florida)

Sentence:  Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (May 3, 1993)

Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2015.

Samuel Pasqual Edmondson – Junction City, KS

Offense:  Conspiracy to possess methamphetamine with intent to distribute; possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine (Eastern District of Texas)

Sentence:  Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Sep. 24, 1997)

Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2015.

Amado Garcia – Fresno, CA 

Offense:  Conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine; aiding and abetting the possession of methamphetamine; aiding and abetting the possession of heroin (District of Wyoming)

Sentence:  240 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release; $2,000 fine (Nov. 29, 2001)

Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2015.

Dwight Anthony Goddard – Decatur, GA

Offense:  Possession with intent to distribute cocaine base (Middle District of Georgia)

Sentence:  235 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (Feb. 7, 2002)

Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2015.

Lionel Ray Hairston – Ridgeway, VA

Offense:  Distribution of cocaine base (three counts) (Western District of Virginia)

Sentence:  262 months' imprisonment; eight years' supervised release (May 27, 1999)

Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2015.

Francis Darrell Hayden – Loretto, KY

Offense:  Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 1,000 or more marijuana plants or 1,000 or more kilograms of marijuana; manufacture of 1,000 or more marijuana plants (Eastern District of Michigan)

Sentence:  Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Apr. 2, 2002)

Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2015.

Harold Kenneth Herring – Havana, FL

Offense:  Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; possession with intent to distribute cocaine base (Northern District of Florida)

Sentence:  Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Jan. 22, 1998)

Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2015.

Tommie Lee Hollingshed – Memphis, TN

Offense:  Distribution of a controlled substance (two counts) (Western District of Tennessee)

Sentence:  324 months' imprisonment; four years' supervised release (May 1, 1996)

Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2015.

Derrick DeWayne Johnson – Birmingham, AL  

Offense:  Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine; possession with intent to distribute cocaine (Northern District of Alabama)

Sentence:  360 months' imprisonment; four years' supervised release (Nov. 18, 1998)

Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to a term of 262 months.

Robert Martinez-Gil – San Antonio, TX

Offense:  Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and heroin (Western District of Texas)

Sentence:  Life imprisonment (July 9, 1992)

Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2015.

David Navejar – Brooksville, FL

Offense:  Conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine (Middle District of Florida)

Sentence:  240 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Jan. 27, 2003)

Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2015.

Rudolph Norris – Washington, D.C.

Offense:  Unlawful distribution of cocaine base; unlawful possession with intent to distribute five grams or more of cocaine base (District of Columbia)

Sentence:  360 months' imprisonment; eight years' supervised release (Apr. 5, 1993)

Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2015.

Tracy Lynn Petty – Shelby, NC

Offense:  Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and cocaine base (Western District of North Carolina)

Sentence:  240 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Mar. 30, 2006); amended to 204 months' imprisonment (February 25, 2008)

Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2015.

Luis Razo – Davenport, IA

Offense:  Conspiracy to distribute cocaine (Southern District of Iowa)

Sentence:  240 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Jan. 3, 2003)

Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2015. 

Antwon Rogers – Cleveland, OH

Offense:  Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 139.8 grams of cocaine base (Northern District of Ohio)

Sentence:  Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Jan. 30, 1995)

Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2015.

Herman Rosenboro –Kingsport, TN

Offense:  Conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute over five kilograms of cocaine and over 50 grams of cocaine base; distribution of a quantity of cocaine base (two counts); distribution of a quantity of cocaine (two counts)  (Eastern District of Tennessee)

Sentence:  Life imprisonment; six years' supervised release (Dec. 3, 2001)

Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2015.

Lawrence Elmo Scott – Lynchburg, VA

Offense:  Distribution of crack cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school (Western District of Virginia)

Sentence:  283 months' imprisonment; six years' supervised release; $4,000 fine (Apr. 8, 2003)

Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2015.

Levar V. Wade – Chicago, IL

Offense:  Possession of 50 or more grams of crack cocaine with intent to distribute (Central District of Illinois)

Sentence:  240 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (May 28, 2004)

Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2015. 

Eugene Winters – Cedar Rapids, IA

Offense:  Conspiracy to distribute cocaine base (Southern District of Iowa)

Sentence:  240 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Feb. 23, 2005)

Commutation Grant:  Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2015. 

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