Drug sentences aren't always the same, and for some people caught between laws, it can be a difficult change to bear. For instance, when some states made marijuana legal, those who had been jailed for marijuana use and served time were treated differently than people who use the drug today. For some, commuting their sentences is an option. A commuted sentence is available from several sources, like the judge or the president in some cases.
Commuting a sentence is like a pardon. It means you will be granted a pass for the crime you participated in and be allowed to have a different sentence. You will still be considered guilty of the crime, but the penalty can change.
In news out of Wisconsin from Jan. 19, it was reported that five people will have their sentences commuted thanks to President Obama. He commuted the crack cocaine distribution sentences of three men who were convicted in the state. One will see his sentence of 24 years drop to 11. Another will have a 25-year sentence reduced to around 13.5. The final man will see his sentence drop from 20 to 12 years.
Two other men who were sentenced in Wisconsin also had their sentences commuted. They included one who was convicted of distributing crack cocaine. He received a 17.5-year sentence that is being reduced to 13. Another was convicted of manufacturing methamphetamine and received a 27-year sentence. His sentence is being commuted to approximately 15 years. Each of these men are to be released in January 2017.
These men were part of the Clemency Project of 2014, which had several strict requirements. The changes were made because previously, crack cocaine distribution was penalized more severely than powdered cocaine, despite being a similar drug.
Clemency projects can change lives, and they could be an option for you. Your attorney can help you understand if you qualify.
Source: Wisconsin State Journal, "5 with local ties receive drug sentence commutations from Obama," Ed Treleven, Jan. 19, 2017