Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

President Obama commutes dozens of drug offenses

Drug crimes are extremely serious offenses that often have significant legal penalties associated with them. But that may not remain the case, especially for certain types of drugs. For example, marijuana, which was once considered an extremely dangerous and illegal drug, is becoming more widely accepted across the country and is even legal in some states. A recent decision by our President seems to indicate further that the stigma around drug crimes is becoming less severe.

It may surprise you to learn that some seemingly minor drug crimes, such as possessing a small amount of a particular drug, can result in a life sentence in prison. Some people find this shocking, considering many drug crimes are not violent, and it is with this mindset that President Obama has commuted the sentences of more than 60 people all across the country. Three of those people are inmates in Louisiana.

Most of these individuals who have received commuted sentences were convicted of drug possession or similar drug crimes, but very few of them were violent offenders. It is possible that this led to the notion that their sentences were a bit too severe for the crimes they committed. The three Louisiana men, for instance, were each sentenced to at least 12 years of imprisonment, with the most severe sentence reaching 50 years.

Some people may take umbrage with this action, fearing that dangerous criminals will now be back on the streets, but for many, this is a positive step toward recognizing the undue severity of many drug-crime penalties. If you have been accused of a drug crime in Louisiana, consider meeting with an attorney, who can help you prepare a legal defense to help ensure that you do not suffer such serious penalties.

Source: NOLA, "Obama reduces prison time for 3 Louisiana drug offenders," March 30, 2016

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