While Americans are focused on who will be the next President of the United States, the current commander in chief is not done making his impact on the American criminal justice system. President Obama recently announced two men convicted of drug crimes in Utah will be among 102 people to have their prison sentences commuted. Jimmy Phillip Medina, 54 of Ogden and Shane Alan Taylor, 46 of Colorado Springs, will be released from prison prior to the end of their sentences. It now brings the total of commuted sentences ordered by President Obama to 774, including 590 in 2016.
Medina was scheduled to serve a 20 year prison sentence. He has currently served 11 years behind bars, following a conviction for possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Medina will be released October 6, 2018 after completing residential drug treatment. Like Medina, Taylor has also served 11 years of a 20 year sentence. He was convicted of conspiracy to manufacture meth. Taylor will also be released October 6, 2018 after completing drug treatment and paying the balance of $3,039 in restitution.
The fact is America’s prison system is overcrowded. Making up a huge percentage of the prison population are those convicted of drug crimes. Salt Lake City alone has jails and courtrooms filled with countless people who are either accused or convicted of possession or distribution of illegal narcotics. It is a problem that has not gone unnoticed by our nation’s leader. President Obama’s decision to commute the sentences of convicted of drug criminals is not only designed to reduce the prison population, but to also help rehabilitate prisoners and to prepare them for life as responsible citizens.
Far too many prisoners throughout the nation are facing overly harsh drug crime sentences. Many of these convictions are due to outdated sentencing laws. Obama’s decision to reduce 774 sentences is more than the previous 11 presidents combined. Many incorrectly assume these prisoners are wrongly given a break. But it is important to understand these prisoners will be required to undergo treatment and pay the necessary restitution before they are released. Although many law enforcement officers do not agree with the President’s decision, the fact is none of these prisoners were convicted of violent acts.
To qualify as part of the President’s clemency initiative, inmates must complete at least 10 years of their federal prison sentence. The offender must also prove their sentence would be significantly lower if convicted of the same drug crimes today. Convicted drug criminals must meet the following conditions:
- Must be a low level offender with no ties to gangs, organized crime or cartels.
- Demonstrate good conduct in prison
- No history of violence
If you are charged with a drug crime in Salt Lake City, it is crucial to seek legal representation from an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney. Utah’s drug crime laws are among the harshest in the nation. The quality of your legal counsel can often make the difference between maintaining or losing your freedom. Do not take chances. ContactSalt Lake City criminal defense attorney David Paul White and schedule a consultation today.