Tag Archives: clemency

Four TN prisoners among 58 getting Obama sentence commutations

President Barack Obama has commuted the prison sentences of 58 drug offenders, including four from Tennessee.

From Michael Collins:

Efrem Rahoman Douglas of Knoxville, Cintheia Denise Parra of Memphis, Trevis Love of Harriman and John Herbert Talley of Chattanooga will see their sentences expire Sept. 2, the White House announced Thursday.

“As a country, we have to make sure that those who take responsibility for their mistakes are able to transition back to their communities,” Obama said in a statement. “It’s the right thing to do. It’s the smart thing to do. And it’s something I will keep working to do as long as I hold this office.”

Douglas was serving a sentence of 300 months in prison and 10 years of supervised release for possession with intent to distribute at least 50 grams of cocaine base. He was convicted in 2005 in U.S. District Court in East Tennessee.

Parra was sentenced in 2006 in federal court in Northern Mississippi to 235 months in prison and five years of supervised release for possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine. The sentence was amended last year to 188 months in prison.

Love was serving a sentence of 240 months in prison and 10 years of supervised release for conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine. He was convicted in 2005 in federal court in East Tennessee.

Talley was sentenced in 1995 to life in prison and 10 years of supervised release for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine base and for using a phone in the commission of a felony. He was convicted in federal court in East Tennessee.

To date, Obama has commuted the sentences of 306 people — more than the previous six presidents combined — and said he will continue to review clemency applications. But he said only Congress can bring about lasting changes in federal sentencing through criminal justice reform.

Haley Barbour Inspires Reminiscence of Ray Blantonn

The flap in Mississippi over pardons granted by outgoing Gov. Haley Barbour prompts Keel Hunt to reminisce in a Tennessean piece about the “cash for clemency” in Tennessee at the end of Gov. Ray Blanton’s tenure. It starts like this:
An ugly uproar in Mississippi last week — over the surprise pardoning of 200-plus convicts by departing Gov. Haley Barbour — is stirring some deep echoes in Tennessee.
Convicts suddenly set free. Secrecy. Mystery. Outrage.
It should all remind Tennesseans of a dark night in our own history — 33 years ago tonight, in fact — when another governor made national headlines of the worst kind.
On Jan. 15, 1979, Gov. Ray Blanton issued 52 executive clemencies in a late-evening meeting at his State Capitol office. By the next day, news of what he had done had touched off a bonfire of public outrage.
Less than 48 hours after his extraordinary signing spree, Blanton was out of office, stripped of his power by a bipartisan “coup” that was unprecedented in American history.
Barbour’s action this week has not been fully explained. He said most of those he pardoned had served their prison time, but Mississippi’s attorney general has challenged the action, and a judge has stopped 21 of the releases
.