HOUSTON --President Barack Obama shortened the sentences of 209 prisoners and pardoned 64 individuals on Tuesday, the White House said. Six Houstonians were among the 273 Americans that were granted a second chance on Tuesday.
President Barack Obama granted these four Houstonians commutations, which wipes out or lowers a sentence for a crime they've been convicted of:
Timothy Wayne Calhoun - Houston, TX
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine base; aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute cocaine base; Southern District of Texas
Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (February 28, 1996)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on May 17, 2017.
Kelvin Dandrea Cotton - Houston, TX
Offense: Aiding and abetting the possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base; Southern District of Texas
Sentence: 360 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release; $2,000 fine (October 14, 2003)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to 240 months' imprisonment and unpaid balance of $2,000 fine remitted when his sentence expires.
Donnell Bartholomew Ford - Houston, TX
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine; conspiracy to commit money laundering; attempted possession with intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine; Southern District of Texas
Sentence: Life imprisonment; five years' supervised release; $10,000 fine (December 18, 1998)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 300 months' imprisonment and unpaid balance of $10,000 fine remitted when his sentence expires.
Arboleda A. Ortiz - Houston, TX
Offense: Conspiracy to distribute cocaine; aiding and abetting murder in relation of a drug trafficking crime; interstate travel with intent to commit murder for hire; Western District of Missouri
Sentence: Death sentence; five years' supervised release (December 19, 2000)
Commutation Grant: Death sentence commuted to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
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President Barack Obama granted pardons to the following two people from our area:
Trevor Chinweuba Ekeh, fka Chinweuba Trevor Ekeh - Houston, TX
Offense:Conspiracy to steal bank funds (District of Columbia)
Sentence:Three years' probation; $2,882.46 restitution (May 12, 1999) (as amended January 3, 2000)
Joseph William Hopkins - Cypress, TX
Offense: Distribution of cocaine (Northern District of Texas)
Sentence: Five years' probation, conditioned upon 120 days' halfway house confinement; three years' special parole term (December 14, 1984)
President Obama also granted full pardons in a number of high-profile cases, including:
- Former general James Cartwright, convicted last October of lying to the FBI in a leak investigation. The former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was accused of lying about his role in disclosing classified information about the use of the Stuxnet computer virus to disrupt Iran's nuclear program.
- Baseball Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, convicted of tax evasion in 1996.
- Ian Schrager, co-founder of New York's famed Studio 54 nightclub, convicted of tax fraud in 1980.
- Oscar Lopez Rivera, a Puerto Rican nationalist who was the last remaining member of a Puerto Rican terrorist group still in prison. President Bill Clinton commuted the sentences of 16 members of the group for setting off bombs in 1970s and '80s, but Rivera refused the clemency to protest another member who was not released.
- Stephen Lee Arrington, convicted in a drug conspiracy that involved carmaker John Z. DeLorean, known for making the car made famous in the Back to the Future trilogy starring Michael J. Fox. DeLorean was acquitted, but Arrington pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years in prison.
With Tuesday's 209 grants of commutation, the President has now commuted the sentences of 1,385 individuals - the most grants of commutation issued by any President in this nation's history. President Obama's 1,385 commutation grants - which includes 504 life sentences - is also more than the total number of commutations issued by the past 12 presidents combined. And with today's 64 pardons, the President has now granted a total of 212 pardons.