Cousin Of Gov. Patrick Among 8 Getting Commutations From Obama

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A first cousin of Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is among eight people whose drug sentences have been commuted by President Obama.

Reynolds Wintersmith Jr., of Rockford, Ill., was a teenager when he was sentenced in 1994 to life in prison for selling crack cocaine.

Obama on Thursday commuted the sentence of Wintersmith, along with seven other people the president said was serving unduly harsh sentences under old federal guidelines that treated crack cocaine offenses differently than the powder form of the drug.

Patrick told WGBH-FM radio Friday that he has "no memory of ever having met" Wintersmith, was not involved in seeking the commutation, and was not alerted by the White House before the commutation was announced.

Patrick, a Democrat, is a friend and strong supporter of the president.

This article was originally published on December 20, 2013.

This program aired on December 20, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.