President Obama shorted 46 non-violent drug sentences to a November 10, 2015 release date. The official list is here. An analysis of the race, gender, drug and sentence effect is here: “Mostly black, mostly crack.”

Jeffrey Toler

Jeffrey Toler

Details on each individual are in the story you’re reading.

Thirteen drug offenders (including Jeffrey Toler, pictured) were serving life without parole.

Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas‘s mom got her crack sentence reduced. Katrina Thomas, 42, will be freed in November, a year and a half early, after serving more than 15 years.

Demaryius visiting mom, Katrina, in prison.

Demaryius visiting mom in prison.

Also to be released: an 84-year-old black man given 45 years for crack…a 72-year-old black man given a life sentence for crack…and a 33-year-old black man sentenced to life for selling crack as a teenager.

Meet the 46 clemency recipients:  


Romain Dukes, 43, black male. Hometown: Chicago, IL. Offense: crack cocaine.

Previous release date: Death. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: life without parole, given on October 1, 1997 in Iowa.

State and local police investigated Dukes and a buddy for selling cocaine in Davenport, Iowa. The two black men were then jurisdiction-shopped to federal court to get longer sentences than would have been given in state court. The case — and Dukes’ life sentence, in particular — is an example of how the subtle legal racism that pervades the enforcement of drug prohibition.


Robert Earl Thomas, Jr., 48, black male. Hometown: Houston, TX. Offense: crack cocaine.

Previous release date: May 18, 2018. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence:  21 years, 10 months, given on June 29, 1999.


Marlon

Marlon

Marlon McNealy, 42, black male. Hometown: St. Petersburg, FL. Offense: crack cocaine.

Previous release date: Death. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: life without parole, given on August 18, 1993.

“It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen him — many years,” says aunt Mary McNealy. “He never hurt nobody or did nothing that bad. He was always nice and easygoing and respectful; I’m sure he still is.”


james marion stockton before

Before sentence commutation

James Marion Stockton, 84, black male. Hometown: Martinsville, VA. Offense: crack cocaine, firearm.

Previous release date: October 15, 2033. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence:  35 years, given on May 27, 2003.

The old man lived alone in rural Virginia. He kept small amounts of crack cocaine in a metal tin under his bedroom pillow, next to a handgun for protection.

After President Bama commuted sentence

After sentence commutation


Bart Stover, 59, white male. Hometown: Ashland, OH. Offense: marijuana, powder cocaine.

Previous release date: July 3, 2022. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence:  20 years, given on April 12, 2005.

“Defendant Stover’s primary involvement was in allowing drugs to be stored at a garage he leased in exchange for cash payments.” — federal appeals court decision upholding 20 year sentence.   


Katrina Stuckey Smith, 42, black female. Hometown: Montrose, GA. Offense: crack and powder cocaine.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 2.39.35 PM

Katrina and son Demaryius, who signed a $70 million contract with Denver Broncos two days after his mother’s commutation.

Previous release date: June 25, 2017. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: 24 years, 4 months, given on July 20, 2000; reduced to 20 years on April 2, 2000.

See 2010 story on her son, now an NFL wide receiver, overcoming the loss of his mother to drug prohibition.

From Wikipedia: “Thomas was born to parents Bobby and Katina Thomas in Montrose, Georgia. When Thomas was a child, police raided the house where his mother and grandmother lived. His mother and grandmother were both arrested and sentenced to 20 years in prison and life in prison respectively for crack distribution. By all accounts a shy and introverted child, Thomas grew up with his aunt and uncle after his mother was sent to prison. As a child he was given the nickname “Bay Bay” by his uncle in reference to the bad kids from the movie Bebe’s Kids.

“Thomas is a ChristianThomas frequently posts about his faith on his Twitter account. Thomas has a tattoo of a portrait of Jesus with the phrase “Jesus Saves” under the portrait on his left arm.”

 


Larry Darnell Belcher, 53, black male. Hometown: Martinsville, VA. Offense: cocaine, marijuana.

Previous release date: Death. Sentence started December 15, 1997. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: Life without parole. Will serve: 17 years, 11 months.

Larry earned his GED while in prison, earning his highest score in science and his lowest in math. 


 

Shauna Barry-Scott, 52, black female. Hometown: Youngstown, OH. Offense: crack cocaine.

Previous release date: September 20, 2022. New release date:  November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: 24 years, given October 18, 2005.

From the Youngstown Vindicator: “In the mid-1990s, Shauna Barry Scott and her husband, Lester Scott, claimed to be anti-drug activists whose Dare to Dream Foundation helped inner-city youths.The image cracked in 1995, when Lester Scott was convicted of a drug charge, and again in 1999, when he got an 18-month prison term based on cocaine possession and illegal food-stamp use.Also, in December 1999, his wife got 10 days in jail and four years’ probation for perjury and illegal food-stamp use.”


Nathaniel Brown, 33, black male. Hometown: Orange Park, FL. Offense: crack and powder cocaine.

Previous release date: Death. Sentenced started August 1, 2002. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: Life without parole.

Nathaniel crack as a teenager. Prosecutors kicked two blacks off the jury: one because she said she’d voted “not guilty” in a previous criminal trial, another because he said he’d “been around drug use.” Nathaniel and co-defendant Avise Hunter were sentenced to life without parole. Avise, now 37, had his life sentence reduced on legal grounds and was freed in 2008.


Clarence Callies Jr., 36, black male. Hometown: San Antonio, TX. Offense: crack cocaine.

Previous release date: June 26, 2018. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: 20 years, given March 25, 2002.

“He’s happy,” his father, Charles Sr., told the San Antonio Express-News. His son “wants to do it better. He’s tired of being locked up. He would be the biggest fool on earth not to take the chance. He hasn’t been free since he was 17. He ain’t never hurt nobody, never He just did detrimental harm to himself.” Clarence Jr. will come back home to live with his family until he gets back on his feet, his dad said.

Also from the newspaper story: “Before prison, Callies Jr. was a student at St. Philip’s College. He was a truck driver and had a girlfriend, his father said. But he got involved with drugs when he was 17, Callies Sr. said.While still in high school, Callies Sr. said, his son began using marijuana and eventually crack cocaine, after growing dependent on painkillers.”


cedric culpepper

Cedric

Cedric Culpepper, 45, black male. Hometown: Orlando, FL. Offense: crack cocaine.

Previous release date: November 15, 2016. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: 15 years, 7 months, given November 15, 2004.

On dialysis and in need of kidney transplant at the federal prison medical center in Springfield, Missouri. “Here at the medical center, my life is at stake. Medical treatment is inadequate. There are no kidney transplants for patients.”


Jerome Wayne Johnson, 66, white male. Hometown: Fort White, FL. Offense: marijuana.

Previous release date: September 1, 2021. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: 20 years, given on May 27, 2004.

Jerome was caught growing 273 pot plants in his home. He pled guilty but wouldn’t say what he planned to do with the pot. The government came back and charged him with responsibility for more than 1,000 plants and fought to get him sentenced to life without parole for pot. The judge gave him 20 years without parole. Obama effectively cut the sentence to 12 years.

(Note: Marijuana is legal in four states and Washington, D.C. The federal government now has about 50 people serving life sentence for pot. Obama commuted none of those sentences.)


Mark Anthony Jones, 53, black male. Hometown: Boynton Beach, FL. Offense: crack cocaine.

Previous release date: Death. New release date: November, 10, 2015.

Original sentence: Life without parole, given on July 28, 1999.

“For all the years of struggling, he kept his head up and kept a positive attitude. He got in trouble and he wasn’t blaming anybody but himself,” said Clinton Jones, his father.  Mark will work in his brother’s renovation business after his release.


Tony Lynn Hollis, 45, black male. Sentenced in: Knoxville, TN. Offense crack cocaine.

Previous release date: November 15, 2019. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: 21 years, 9 months, given June 8, 2001.


Brian Nickles, 46, black male. Sentenced in: New Orleans, LA. Offense: crack cocaine.

Previous release date: April 15, 2021. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: 20 years, given April 28, 2004.

“Nickles said he was paralyzed, his family was struggling to make ends meet after the death of his mother and prison officials were denying him the opportunity to take GED classes — not because of bad behavior, but because his scheduled release date was a decade away,” from The New Orleans Advocate.


Jermaine Lee Osborne, 36, black male. Hometown: Roanoke, VA. Offense: crack cocaine.

Previous release date: March 21, 2023. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence:  20 years, given May 2, 2006.


Jeffrey

Jeffrey

Jeffery Jerome Toler, 44, black male. Sentenced in: Pensacola, FL. Offense: crack and powder cocaine.

Previous release date: Death. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: life without parole, given June 13, 1996.

He was part of a round-up of 33 blacks on drug charges in Pensacola in 1996. Nicknamed “Big Rome,” Jeffrey’s weight exceeded 300 pounds before he slimmed down in prison. Searching for a prison pen pal, he wrote: “I’m searching for a path after straying off into the depths of this darkened road.”


Donald Vanderhorst, 44, black male. Sentenced in: Charleston, SC. Offense: crack and powder cocaine.

Previous release date: July 7, 2021. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: 20 years, given March 15, 2006.

From Charleston Post and Courier: “He will meet four grandchildren for the first time, be able to hug his family and grieve the recent loss of one of his children outside of earshot of the roughly 1,700 other inmates at Jessup Federal Correctional Institution in Jessup, Georgia.”


James Nathan Walton, 44, black male. Hometown: Thibodeaux, LA. Offense: crack cocaine.

Previous release date: October 26, 2021. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: 20 years, given September 16, 2004.

Walton tried to help the government in exchange for a sentence reduction. He even testified before a grand jury. But the government didn’t like what he said, so he didn’t get a reduced sentence. Prosecutors control sentence reductions; judges have no power without a prosecutors consider — an example of the troubled federal court system.


Telisha, photo courtesy of FAMM.

Telisha, photo courtesy of FAMM.

Telisha Rachette Watkins, 41, black female. Sentenced in: Charlotte, NC. Offense: Crack and powder cocaine.

Previous release date: August 5, 2023. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence:  20 years, given on October 25, 2007.

From Families Against Mandatory Minimums: “Since her incarceration, Telisha has earned her GED and completed life and family skills courses. Unfortunately, Telisha has not been able to see her children since she was transferred to her current facility (in Minnesota). They are being cared for by Telisha’s mother, who cannot afford the travel expenses.”


Dunning Wells, 59, white male.Hometown: Fort Myers, FL. Offense: powder cocaine, firearm.

Previous release date: June 17, 2028. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence:  41 years, 9 months, given February 20, 1992.

“Wells was a member of the Renegades Motorcycle Club when he was arrested more than 20 years ago.” — Fort Myers News-Press


Kimberly A. Westmoreland, 41, white female. Hometown: Columbus, OH. Offense: crack cocaine, firearm.

Previous release date: January 22, 2017. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: 15 years, given on January 21, 2004.

In 2002, a federal agent made eight small buys from Kimberly, not arresting her so the weight in the indictment could be increased to lengthen her sentence. The 29-year-old single mother had two children, who were raised by Kimberly’s mom.


Before commutation

Before commutation

James Rufus Woods, 72, black male.Hometown: Leasburg, NC. Offense: crack cocaine.

Previous release date: Death. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: Life without parole, given on November 23, 1998.

An informant told police that James was selling crack in 1998. Local police set up a roadblock near his house, on the lookout for a big black guy in a maroon van. They stopped James and found three small packages of crack cocaine  in a paper bag between the van’s two front seats.

He had two prior drug arrests, so the case was jurisdiction shopped to federal court so James, then 55-year-old, would get his “Black + Crack = Life” sentence.

After sentence commutation

After sentence commutation


Robert Joe Young, 52, white male.Hometown: Joppa, AL. Offense: meth, powder cocaine, firearm.

Previous release date: May 26, 2019. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: 20 years, given on December 16, 2002.


John M. Wyatt, 54, white male. Hometown: Las Cruces, NM. Offense: marijuana.

Previous release date: November 1, 2021. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: 21 years, 9 months, given on August 30, 2004.


Bruce Todd, 54, black male. Hometown: Atlanta, GA. Offense: crack cocaine.

Previous release date: October 22, 2021. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: 21 years, 10 months, given on March 3, 2003.


Norman O’Neal Brown, 46, black male. Hometown: Hyattsville, MD. Offense: crack cocaine.

Previous release date: Death. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence:  Life without parole, given on January 15, 1993.

Brown was given a mandatory life without parole sentence for selling crack cocaine at ages 20 and 21.


Douglas, an Army veteran who later worked with handicapped kids.

Douglas, an Army veteran who later worked with handicapped kids.

Douglas M. Lindsay II, 47, black male. Hometown: Newberry, SC. Offense: crack and powder cocaine.

Previous release date: December 15, 2017. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: Life without parole, given on December 20, 1996. Reduced to 24 years, 5 months on March 4, 2015.

Read Doug’s story on Families Against Mandatory Minimums web site.


Joseph Burgos, 66, white male. Hometown: Chicago, IL. Offense: powder cocaine.

Previous release date: August 17, 2017. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: 30 years, given on September 2, 1993.

Convicted of distributing cocaine (4 pounds) at jury trial.


Anthony Leon Carroll, 41, black male. Hometown: Tampa, FL. Offense: crack cocaine.

Previous release date: February 6, 2018. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: 21 years, 10 months.

Anthony is currently at the federal prisons medical center in Lexington, KY. No information on his health available at the time of the commutation.


Juan Diego Castro, 53, white male. Hometown: Laredo, TX. Offense: Powder cocaine.

Previous release date: November 11, 2018. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: 20 years, given on February 1, 2002.

The only person of Hispanic origin who appears to be among the 46 commutations.


Joe Louis Champion, 48, black male. Hometown: Houston, TX. Offense: crack cocaine.

Previous release date: Death. New release date: November 15, 2015.

Original sentence: life without parole, given June 19, 1997.

Great name. Joe Louis got life without parole because he had a state drug conviction in 1988.


Walter's mug shot when arrested in Florida.

Walter’s mug shot when arrested in Florida.

Walter R. Dennie, 44, black male. Hometown: Gary, IN. Offense: crack cocaine.

Original sentence: 20 years, given on April 25, 2002.

Previous release date: April 25, 2018. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Walter was arrested in Florida while picking up cocaine to bring home to Chicago.


Steven D. Donovan, 58, Hometown: Oak Creek, WI. Offense: powder cocaine.

Previous release date: Death. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: life without parole, given on October 16, 1992.

Steve and his brother Vincent ran a successful cocaine business in Milwaukee during the late 1980s. Vincent, a race car driver and leader of the business, was released in 2007.


Alex William Jackson, 41, black male. Hometown: Mineral, VA. Offense: crack cocaine.

Previous release date: July 13, 2016. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: 20 years, 2 months, given on December 22, 1999. Reduced to 20 years on June 25, 2008.


Jackie Johnson, 40, black male. Hometown: Townsend, DE. Offense: crack cocaine.

Previous release date: May 16, 2023. New release date: November 15, 2015.

Original sentence: 20 years, given on January 20, 2007.

Delaware police arrested Jackie at the University Plaza Mall in Newark, Delaware. The black man was then jurisdiction-shopped to federal court to get him a longer sentence.


Willie C. Johnson, 39, black male. Hometown: Steele, MO. Offense: crack cocaine.

Previous release date: July 18, 2016. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: 30 years, given on February 18, 2005. Reduced to 14 years on February 12, 2005.


Ezekiel Simpson, 34, black male. Hometown: St. Louis, MO. Offense: crack cocaine.

Previous release date: March 9, 2022. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: 20 years, given on February 3, 2005.


Bryant

Bryant

Bryant Keith Shelton, 45, black male. Hometown: Kissimmee, FL. Offense: crack cocaine.

Previous release date: December 21, 2016. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: 15 years, 8 months.


Patrick Roberts, 65, black male. Hometown: Detroit, MI. Offense: cocaine, heroin, marijuana.

Previous release date: Death. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence:  Life without parole, given on July 8, 1999.


Kevin Matthews, 43, black male. Hometown: James Island, SC. Offense: crack cocaine.

Previous release date: April 4, 2019. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: 19 years, 4 months, given on February 11, 2004.


Marcus H. Richards, 50, black male. Hometown: Miami, FL. Offense: crack and powder cocaine.

Previous release date: March 10, 2022. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: 20 years.


Kenneth Lorenzo Lewis, 44, black male. Hometown: Charlottesville, VA. Offense: crack cocaine.

Previous release date: March 16, 2019. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: 21 years, 9 months, given on November 17, 2000.


Roy Larry Lee, 63, black male. Hometown: St. Petersburg, FL. Offense: crack cocaine.

Previous release date: Death. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: life without parole, given on May 3, 1990.

“Robert Earl ‘Wonderman’ Lee was the first of St. Petersburg’s crack kingpins. When authorities shut him down in 1989, they said the family had already made millions. Lee once lost $30,000 because he forgot he had stashed it in the garbage. In 1990, he and his brother Roy Larry Lee were sentenced to life in prison.” — Tampa Bay Times, January 21. 2011.

Note: Robert Earl Lee died at the age of 75 on July 5, 2014, two weeks after being released from prison, probably for health reasons under the Bureau of Prisons’ “compassionate release” program for dying inmates.


John L. Houston Brower, 52, black male. Hometown: Carthage, NC. Offense: crack cocaine.

Previous release date: Death. New release date: November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: life without parole, given on June 22, 2002.

Typical “Black + crack = life” case.

John, a local drug dealer, was jurisdiction-shopped to federal court to whack a guy who happens to be black. He  was convicted of selling 69 grams of crack cocaine. His sentence was bumped up from 10 years to life with parole because of two state convictions: one for selling pot in 1990 and powder cocaine in 1992.

Under the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, 69 grams of crack cocaine gets five years. So, in essence, police and prosecutors manipulated the system so a guy who deserved perhaps five years got life without parole. The sentence commutation cuts the time he’ll serve to 14 years.

Note: This is why many minorities don’t trust the justice system. Everything was legal and equal in law but not in reality.


Jerry Allen Bailey, 50, black male. Hometown: Charlotte, NC. Offense: crack cocaine.

Previous release date: August 20, 2021. New release date:  November 10, 2015.

Original sentence: 30 years, given April 2, 1996.


 

Additional information, corrections and photos welcome. Sent to editor@clemencyreport.org.

 

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This