Fri. May 31st, 2024

Biden grants clemency to 16 people convicted of nonviolent drug offenses

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell May15,2024

President Biden granted clemency Wednesday to 16 people who were convinced of nonviolent drug offenses, arguing the pardons and commutations reflect his commitment to address racial disparities.

The president pardoned 11 individuals and commuted the sentences of five others, noting many of them received “disproportionately longer sentences” than they would have under current practice.

He added that the pardon recipients “demonstrated their commitment to improving their lives and positively transforming their communities” and the commutation recipients showed they deserve “forgiveness and the chance at building a brighter future for themselves beyond prison walls.”

Biden is pardoning Jason Hernandez, of McKinney, Texas, a 47-year-old who was convicted of several nonviolent drug offenses. Former President Obama commuted his sentence in 2013, and he now runs a nonprofit that turned the store he used to sell drugs in front of to a market that sells affordable quality food.

He is also pardoning Beverly Holcy, of Palatka, Fla., a 59-year-old who pleaded guilty to nonviolent drug offense she committed at 27 and now volunteers at a church and is fully employed.

Other pardon recipients include 58-year-old Jeffrey Alan Lewis from Douglasville, Ga., who pleaded guilty of a nonviolent drug offense at 40 and is now consistently employed, and 50-year-old Bobby Darrell Lowery of Jackson, Miss., who was convicted of a nonviolent drug offense at 25 and now has steady employment.

Washington, D.C., woman Katrina Polk, 54, who pleaded guilty to nonviolent drug offense at 18 and has earned her Ph.D. in public policy and administration since her release, and Columbia S.C., man, Ricky Donnell Tyler, 54, who was convicted of nonviolent drug offenses at 26 and has worked a truck driver since his release, are also being pardoned.

“Like my other clemency actions, these pardons and commutations reflect my overarching commitment to addressing racial disparities and improving public safety,” Biden said in the statement.

He also noted that April is Second Chance Month and marked it by reaffirming his commitment to rehabilitation and reentry programs and building a criminal justice system that “ensures that everyone receives equal justice under law.”

The five individuals with sentences being commuted include Daequon Charles Davis of Johnson City, Tenn., who faced 262 months for conspiracy to distribute or to possess with intent to distribute 280 grams or more of cocaine, and Jophaney Hyppolite of Miami, who faced life imprisonment for distribution and conspiracy to manufacture and to possess with intent to distribute more than 280 grams cocaine base.

Also having their sentences commuted are Xavier Martez Parnell of Clarksville, Tenn., who faced 300 months of imprisonment for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, and Margaret Ann Vandyke of Ellenville, N.Y., who faced 60 months of imprisonment for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance.

The sentence of Leshay Nicole Rhoton of Bristol, Tenn., who faced 240 months of imprisonment for conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 280 grams or more of cocaine base and 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, will also be commuted.

Biden in December 2023 commuted the sentences of 11 individuals serving jail sentences for nonviolent drug offenses and signed a proclamation to pardon certain marijuana offenses. In October 2022, he announced pardons for thousands of individuals who had been convicted of simple marijuana possession under federal law.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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2 thoughts on “Biden grants clemency to 16 people convicted of nonviolent drug offenses”
  1. It’s great to see President Biden taking action to address racial disparities by granting clemency to individuals convicted of nonviolent drug offenses. These individuals have shown dedication to improving their lives and communities, and deserve a chance at building a brighter future beyond prison walls. Kudos to the President for recognizing the need for reform in our justice system.

  2. It’s heartwarming to see President Biden granting clemency to individuals convicted of nonviolent drug offenses. These actions truly reflect his dedication to addressing racial disparities and giving deserving individuals a chance at a brighter future beyond prison walls. It’s a step in the right direction towards reforming our justice system.

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