Knoxvillian among those given commuted sentences by Obama

A Knoxville man serving a prison sentence of nearly 22 years on a cocaine possession charge will be given his freedom — and a second chance — by President Barack Obama.

Further from the News Sentinel:

Tony Lynn Hollis, who is serving time at a federal prison in Manchester, Ky., is one of 46 nonviolent offenders whose convictions on various drug charges were commuted Monday by Obama as part of his push to overhaul the nation’s criminal justice system.

“These men and women were not hardened criminals,” Obama said in a video released by the White House. “But the overwhelming majority of them have been sentenced to at least 20 years. Fourteen of them have been sentenced to life for nonviolent drug offenses. So their punishments didn’t fit the crime.”

If the prisoners had been sentenced under today’s laws, Obama said, nearly all of them would have already served their time.

Hollis was convicted of possession with intent to distribute 26.5 grams of cocaine base in U.S. District Court in East Tennessee and was sentenced on June 12, 2001, to 262 months in prison and eight years of supervised release. He was classified as a “career offender” under federal sentencing guidelines and his prison sentence enhanced because of prior felony controlled substance convictions.

Hollis has tried multiple times to get his sentence reduced, but each time his request was denied.