WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama today commuted the sentences of 153 people and pardoned 78 others — including nine Michiganders — the most acts of clemency taken by a U.S. president in a single day ever.
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick — who has asked that his 28-year sentence on corruption charges be commuted — didn’t make the cut.
Instead, Obama stuck to his practice of focusing his commutations on people serving sentences on drug-related crimes that are longer than they would have been if sentenced today.
Included in the commutations was that of 47-year-old Darnell Walker of Detroit, sentenced to a life term in 1995 on cocaine possession and firearm charges. Obama reduced the sentence to 30 years — meaning Walker could get out of federal prison in 2025.
Other Michiganders who had their sentences reduced were:
* Darrell Atkins of Detroit, sentenced to 30 years in 1996 on cocaine charges, whose sentence will now end on April 18 of next year.
* Lee Henry Berry of Bay City, sentenced to 30 years in 2007 on cocaine and firearms charges, whose sentence was reduced to 15 years and will end in 2022.
* Clifton Ladell Holmes of Flint, sentenced to 20 years in 2006 on cocaine charges, whose sentence will now end in 2018 if he enrolls in a drug treatment program.
* Harold Dean Jones of Flint, sentenced to life in 1995 on heroin and firearm charges, whose sentence will now end April 18 of next year.
Obama also pardoned Ryan Michael Ashbrook of DeWitt, sentenced to three years’ probation on marijuana charges in Texas in 2000; Kaseen Lathell Simmons of Detroit, sentenced to 21 months in prison on marijuana charges in 1999; Pamela Joy Stokes of Southfield, sentenced to two years’ probation in 2006 for making a false statement; and Jessica Ann Tyson of Grand Rapids, sentenced to two years’ probation on a charge of conspiring to commit bank fraud in 1997.
So far during his two terms in office, Obama has commuted the sentences of 1,176 people, including 395 facing life imprisonment terms. He has pardoned a total of 148 people.
That number could still grow: Obama’s term doesn’t end until noon on Jan. 20.
USA Today staff writer Gregory Korte contributed to this story.
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