Obama's Clemency Lottery
Last week, The New York Times reported that President Obama plans to use clemency to free a multitude of nonviolent drug offenders. Everything is pointing to Obama using his clemency powers to free dozens of federal drug offenders, if not more. This will be a historic moment and a new foray into righting the wrongs of the drug war by Obama. He has been working steadily at correcting the draconian drug laws of the past but for many of those in prison it has been too little and too late. His track record in this forum has been spottyto say the least.
During his first term in office President Obama declined to use his executive clemency powers, instead waiting until the end of his fifth year in office to grant just eight commutations and 13 pardons. In an interview with the Huffington Post, the President blamed the Office of the Pardon Attorney for his dismal clemency record, claiming that those who were overseeing the process—former Bush Administration employees—were only sending him "small-time crimes from long ago," meaning those seeking pardons for sentences already served. Also in the interview, Obama said that he had "revamped" the