Obama commutes sentences for 3 from Michigan
Washington — Three Michiganians are among 95 prisoners who were granted clemency by President Barack Obama on Friday.
Keith Demond Thompson, 43, of Eastpointe was sentenced in 2006 to nearly 16 years in prison and eight years of probation on two counts of distributing five or more grams of cocaine, according to the Department of Justice. Thompson is being housed in a federal facility in Yankton, South Dakota.
Javon Tyrone Johnson, 39, of Saginaw was sentenced in the Eastern District of Michigan to 20 years’ imprisonment and 10 years’ probation in 2004 on a charge of distributing 50 grams or more of cocaine. Johnson is being held in a federal facility in Milan, Michigan.
Michael Santoyo, 66, of Saginaw was sentenced in 1993 to life imprisonment and 20 years’ probation on three charges of cocaine possession with the intent to distribute, and a charge of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute. Santoyo is imprisoned in a federal facility in Terre Haute, Indiana.
The sentences for all three are now commuted to expire April 16.
Obama has issued 184 commutations while in office — including 46 in July — the majority of which have gone to nonviolent offenders sentenced for drug crimes under outdated sentencing rules.
That total is more than the last five presidents combined, according to the White House.
Obama wrote a letter to each of the 95 men and women receiving a commutation, saying he took action in their case because they had shown potential to turn their lives around.
“It will not be easy, and you will confront many who doubt people with criminal records can change. Perhaps even you are unsure how you will adjust to your new circumstances,” Obama wrote.
“I believe in your ability to prove the doubters wrong, and change your life for the better.”
The Department of Justice has said it is fast-tracking requests in drug-related cases involving nonviolent offenders who had served more than 10 years of their sentences and who under current sentencing guidelines would have received lesser sentences.