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Obama Issues 12 Pardons, Commutes 8 Sentences

President Obama commuted the prison sentences of eight people who were convicted of drug-related crimes Wednesday, in a move that also saw 12 presidential pardons issued, for offenses ranging from theft to running an illegal distillery.

Half of the eight whose sentences were commuted had been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Citing "unduly harsh sentences issued for drug offenses under an outdated sentencing regime," a White House official said Wednesday that all eight of those who were punished for drug offenses "would receive a substantially lower sentence today."

Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole said of those whose sentences were commuted:

"All eight of these individuals meet the criteria I laid out under the President's direction when I announced the Clemency Initiative in April: they are all non-violent, low-level offenders who have no significant criminal history nor ties to gangs or organized crime. All have served at least 10 years in prison with good conduct while incarcerated, and all would have gotten lesser sentences if convicted of the same crimes today."

As for the 12 people who received presidential pardons, none of their cases date from this century. Two of the sentences were handed down in the 1960s. The offenses range from misappropriating bank funds to "possession of an unregistered distilling apparatus."

The White House says that after the Justice Department announced a shift in its criteria for clemency, "almost three times as many inmates petitioned for commutations in FY14, compared to the previous fiscal year (6,561 compared to 2,370)."

A White House news release describes the cases:

The President granted commutations of sentence to the following eight individuals:

  • Sidney Earl Johnson, Jr. – Mobile, AL

Offense: Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base; possession with intent to distribute cocaine base; use of a communication facility to commit a felony (Southern District of Alabama)

Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Apr. 13, 1994)

Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on June 12, 2015.

  • Cathy Lee Jones – Portsmouth, VA

Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute heroin and cocaine base (Eastern District of Virginia)

Sentence: 262 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (Apr. 29, 2003)

Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 15, 2015.

  • Rickey Marcell McCall – Birmingham, AL

Offense: Possession with intent to distribute in excess of 50 grams of a mixture and substance containing cocaine base; possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (two counts) (Northern District of Alabama)

Sentence: Life imprisonment; 120 months' supervised release (Jan. 11, 2001)

Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 15, 2015.

  • Larry Nailor – Memphis, TN

Offense: Possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute approximately 50 grams of cocaine base (Western District of Tennessee)

Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Nov. 7, 1997)

Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 15, 2015.

  • Antonio Gromyko Reeves – Kennett, MO

Offense: Distribution of five grams or more of cocaine base (Eastern District of Missouri)

Sentence: 188 months' imprisonment; four years' supervised release (May 21, 2004)

Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 15, 2015.

  • Jennifer Regenos – Muscatine, IA

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

Sentence: 240 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (Mar. 25, 2002)

Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 15, 2015.

  • Barbara Lammsies Scrivner – Portland, OR

Offense: Conspiracy to manufacture, possess with intent to distribute, and distribute methamphetamine; possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine (District of Oregon)

Sentence: 360 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (July 3, 1995)

Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on June 12, 2015.

  • Israel Abel Torres – Dallas, TX

Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances; possession with intent to distribute cocaine base (Eastern District of Texas)

Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release; $1,000 fine (Dec. 4, 1998)

Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on April 15, 2015.

The President granted pardons to the following twelve individuals:

  • Roy Norman Auvil – Bartonville, IL

Offense: Possession of an unregistered distilling apparatus; working a distillery on which the required sign is not placed (District of South Carolina)

Sentence: Five years' probation (Nov. 16, 1964)

  • Bernard Bryan Bulcourf – McIntosh, FL

Offense: Counterfeiting Federal Reserve notes (Southern District of Florida)

Sentence: 90 days' confinement in a community treatment center, followed by three years' probation (Nov. 18, 1988)

  • Steve Charlie Calamars – San Antonio, TX

Offense: Possession of phenyl-2-propanone with intent to manufacture a quantity of methamphetamine (Western District of Texas)

Sentence: 57 months' imprisonment; three years' supervised release (May 31, 1989; as amended Apr. 8, 1994)

  • Diane Mary DeBarri, fka Diane Mary Wilhelm – Fairless Hills, PA

Offense: Conspiracy to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine; distribution of methamphetamine (Eastern District of Pennsylvania)

Sentence: 90 days' imprisonment; five years' probation conditioned on performance of community service as directed by the court (June 15, 1984)

  • Donnie Keith Ellison – London, KY

Offense: Manufacture of marijuana (Eastern District of Kentucky)

Sentence: Five months' imprisonment; three years' supervised release (Sept. 1, 1995)

  • John Marshall French – Clovis, CA

Offense: Conspiracy to transport a stolen motor vehicle in interstate commerce (District of South Carolina)

Sentence: Three years' probation conditioned on performance of 100 hours of community service and payment of $2,337 restitution (Mar. 2, 1993)

  • Ricardo Marcial Lomedico, Sr. – Point Roberts, WA

Offense: Misappropriation of bank funds by an employee (Western District of Washington)

Sentence: Five years' imprisonment (Nov. 21, 1969)

  • David Raymond Mannix – Lafayette, OR

Offense: Conspiracy to commit larceny; theft of military property (U.S. Marine Corps general court-martial convened at Camp Pendleton, CA)

Sentence: 75 days' confinement; forfeiture of $350 pay per month for three months; reduction to Private First Class, pay grade E-2 (Oct. 18, 1989, as approved Mar. 2, 1990)

  • David Neil Mercer – Grand Junction, CO

Offense: Archaeological Resources Protection Act violation (District of Utah)

Sentence: 36 months' probation; $2,500 fine; $1,437.72 joint and several restitution (Apr. 9, 1997)

  • Claire Holbrook Mulford, fka Claire Audrey Holbrook – Flint, TX

Offense: Using a residence to distribute methamphetamine; carrying a firearm during a drug-trafficking crime (Eastern District of Texas)

Sentence: 70 months' imprisonment; two years' supervised release (Dec. 3, 1993)

  • Brian Edward Sledz – Naperville, IL

Offense: Wire fraud; violation of the Commodity Exchange Act (Northern District of Illinois)

Sentence: One year of probation conditioned on payment of $1,318 costs of supervision and $8,297.91 restitution (Apr. 29, 1993)

  • Albert Byron Stork – Delta, CO

Offense: Filing a false tax return (District of Colorado)

Sentence: Six months' confinement in a jail-type or treatment institution; three years' probation (May 8, 1987)

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