Obama com­mutes Md. pris­on­ers’ sen­tences

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By John Fritze The As­so­ci­ated Press con­trib­uted to this ar­ti­cle. john.fritze@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/jfritze

Five Mary­lan­ders are among the 111 fed­eral pris­on­ers whose sen­tences were short­ened Tues­day by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama in the lat­est round of com­mu­ta­tions for peo­ple con­victed of non­vi­o­lent drug crimes.

Two of those af­fected are from Bal­ti­more, three from Prince Ge­orge’s County.

Obama, who has long called for phas­ing out strict sen­tences for non­vi­o­lent drug of­fenses, has granted a to­tal of 673 com­mu­ta­tions, more than the pre­vi­ous 10 pres­i­dents com­bined. More than a third of the re­cip­i­ents were serv­ing life sen­tences.

Malik Abuhamid Ibm Wakil Ab­dunafi of Bal­ti­more was sen­tenced to 20 years in 2007 for dis­tri­bu­tion and pos­ses­sion of nar­cotics and con­spir­acy to dis­trib­ute. His sen­tence will now ex­pire in De­cem­ber.

El­liott Gray of Bal­ti­more was sen­tenced to more than 15 years in 2007 for pos­ses­sion with in­tent to dis­trib­ute drugs and aid­ing and abet­ting.

A fed­eral judge en­hanced Gray’s sen­tence be­cause he had two pre­vi­ous state con­vic­tions for deal­ing drugs. Au­thor­i­ties say Gray sold co­caine and heroin to an un­der­cover po­lice of­fi­cer on five sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions in 2006.

His sen­tence was com­muted to ex­pire in 2018.

Der­rick Lewis Bynum of Hy­attsville was sen­tenced to 25 years in 2006 for con­spir­acy to dis­trib­ute and pos­sess with in­tent to dis­trib­ute drugs, use of a com­mu­ni­ca­tions de­vice to fa­cil­i­tate nar­cotics traf­fick­ing and pos­ses­sion of a firearm. His prison sen­tence was com­muted to 20 years.

Marvin K. Hol­loway of Dis­trict Heights was sen­tenced in 2000 to nearly 22 years for pos­ses­sion with in­tent to dis­trib­ute nar­cotics. Rod­ney R. McCain of Suit­land was sen­tenced in 2006 to 16 and a half years on drug and firearm charges.

Sen­tences for both Bynum and Hol­loway were com­muted to end in De­cem­ber.

White House Coun­sel Neil Eg­gle­ston said the com­mu­ta­tions un­der­score the pres­i­dent’s com­mit­ment to us­ing his clemency author­ity to give de­serv­ing in­di­vid­u­als a sec­ond chance. He said he ex­pects Obama to con­tinue grant­ing com­mu­ta­tions, but only leg­is­la­tion can en­sure the fed­eral sen­tenc­ing sys­tem op­er­ates more fairly.

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