President Obama commutes sentences of 18 with local ties days before leaving office

01/17/2017 06:16 PM

In what could be his last round of commutations, President Obama has cut short the prison sentences for 18 individuals with ties to Kentucky in his final days in office, the White House announced Tuesday.

Obama has now commuted sentences for 1,385 individuals, far more than recent predecessors. Tuesday’s commutations followed the recent trend from Obama by cutting time for inmates serving sentences for non-violent drug crimes.

Many of those which Obama granted clemency to on Tuesday were convicted of crimes involving crack cocaine, many of the individuals on the list were handed mandatory minimum sentences.

The list of the Kentuckians receiving commutations includes:

William Brown – Covington, KY
Offense: Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base (crack cocaine); possess with intent to distribute cocaine base (crack cocaine); aiding and abetting to manufacture, distribute, and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base (crack cocaine); aiding and abetting to distribute cocaine base (crack cocaine); Eastern District of Kentucky
Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years’ supervised release (January 11, 2007)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 240 months’ imprisonment, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

Rickey Calloway ─ Louisville, KY
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute cocaine; attempt to possess with intent to distribute cocaine (two counts); interstate travel and act in aid of an illegal business enterprise involving narcotics and controlled substances (two counts); possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; Western District of Kentucky
Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years’ supervised release (July 17, 2009)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 240 months’ imprisonment.

John Choate – Albany, KY
Offense: Possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine; conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine; Eastern District of Tennessee
Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years’ supervised release (September 11, 1998)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on January 17, 2019, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

Melvin Couch ─ Elk Creek, KY
Offense: Conspiracy to distribute 10 kilograms or more of cocaine; Eastern District of Kentucky
Sentence: 240 months’ imprisonment; 10 years’ supervised release; $10,000,000 forfeiture (February 15, 2006)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 180 months’ imprisonment and unpaid balance of $10,000,000 forfeiture remitted when his sentence expires, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

Quincy Dennis ─ Cincinnati, OH
Offense: 1. Attempt to distribute cocaine base (crack); possession with intent to distribute cocaine base; possession with intent to distribute cocaine; Southern District of Ohio
2. Possession of a prohibited object (marijuana) by a federal inmate; Eastern District of Kentucky
Sentence: 1. Life imprisonment; $30,000 fine (September 12, 1997)
2. Six months’ imprisonment (consecutive); two years’ supervised release (December 13, 2004)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 360 months’ imprisonment, and unpaid balance of the $30,000 fine remitted when his sentence expires, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

Leonard Hoskins – Henderson, KY
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base and less than 500 grams of cocaine hydrochloride; Southern District of Indiana
Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years’ supervised release (March 13, 2009)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 180 months’ imprisonment, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

Willard Wayne Howard – Crittenden, KY
Offense: Conspiracy to distribute and possess five kilograms or more of cocaine; attempt to possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine; Eastern District of Tennessee
Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years’ supervised release (September 4, 2008)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 240 months’ imprisonment.

Audrey Louis Johnson, Jr. – Louisville, KY
Offense: Possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of cocaine base, aid and abet; Western District of Kentucky
Sentence: 120 months’ imprisonment; five years’ supervised release (March 12, 2010)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on May 17, 2017.

Damand Matthews – Henderson, KY
Offense: Conspiracy to distribute in excess of 50 grams of cocaine base and less than 500 grams of cocaine; Southern District of Indiana
Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years’ supervised release; $1,000 fine (March 31, 2009)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 240 months’ imprisonment and unpaid balance of $1,000 fine remitted at the time of his release, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

Wesley Eugene Northington – Evansville, IN
Offense: Distribution of five grams or more of cocaine base within 1,000 feet of a school; possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base; felon in possession of a firearm; Southern District of Indiana
Sentence: 240 months’ imprisonment; 10 years’ supervised release (February 5, 2003)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on May 17, 2017.

John E. Stewart – Greenville, KY
Offense: Conspiracy to knowingly and intentionally possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine; aiding and abetting knowingly and intentionally possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine (two counts); Western District of Kentucky
Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years’ supervised release (May 15, 2008)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 240 months’ imprisonment.

Lulummba Clay Travis ─ Lexington, KY
Offense: Possession with intent to distribute cocaine base; possession with intent to distribute marijuana; Eastern District of Kentucky
Sentence: 360 months’ imprisonment; eight years’ supervised release (June 5, 1998)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on May 17, 2017.

*Raymond M. Walker, III – Evansville, IN *
Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute in excess of 50 grams of cocaine base; distribution of cocaine base in excess of five grams of cocaine base (two counts); Southern District of Indiana
Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years’ supervised release (November 9, 2005)
Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 300 months’ imprisonment.

Zachary James Ray Anderson – Owensboro, KY
Offense: Conspiracy to defraud the United States by knowingly and without lawful authority producing false identification documents (Western District of Kentucky)
Sentence: 15 months’ imprisonment; two years’ supervised release (April 17, 2003)

Arthur Martin Gilreath, aka Arthur Martin Gilbreath – Pine Knot, KY
Offense: Conspiring to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute marijuana (Eastern District of Kentucky)
Sentence: One year of imprisonment; four years’ supervised release (February 14, 1992) (as amended January 8, 1993)

Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics available exclusively on Spectrum News. Pure Politics is the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like his coverage of the backlog of DNA rape kits waiting to be tested in Kentucky. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Pure Politics airs weeknight at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Nick on Twitter @NStorm_Politics. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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