Obama Commutes Sentences

December 20, 2013 by  

Obama Commutes Sentences, President Obama on Thursday granted a rare commutation to the first cousin of Governor Deval Patrick, allowing the release of a man who in 1994 was given a life sentence on charges of dealing crack cocaine.

Patrick said that he does not recall ever meeting his first cousin Reynolds Allen Wintersmith Jr., 39 of Rockford, Ill., and had no involvement in his application for clemency, which has been a cause of national advocates for years and has been featured in the national media.

“There’s a significant age gap between the two and the governor has no recollection of having met Mr. Wintersmith,” said Patrick’s spokeswoman Jesse Mermell. “Governor Patrick had no involvement in any application for a commutation of Mr. Wintersmith.”

He was aware of Wintersmith’s imprisonment, she said, but did not know the specifics of his case or the request for a commutation.

Patrick, who declined requests for an interview, has a close relationship with President Obama, dining with him at the White House and Martha’s Vineyard. Mermell said the White House did not alert the governor about the commutation, and that Patrick learned of it only through the news media.

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