The Associated Press
WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is commuting the sentences of eight people he said were serving unduly harsh sentences for drug crimes, and one of them is a Tampa man. He also granted 13 pardons.
Ezell Gilbert, 44, of Tampa was charged with possession with intent to deliver cocaine base and possession with intent to distribute marijuana. He was sentenced to 292 months’ (24 years) imprisonment and five years’ supervised release on March 25, 1997. The commutation reduces his prison sentence to time already served.
Obama has commuted only one other sentence in the five years of his presidency.
The president signed the Fair Sentencing Act in 2010 to reduce penalties for crack cocaine offenses in order to reduce the disparity with powder cocaine penalties. But the act addressed only new cases, not old ones.
The White House said Thursday that all of the sentences Obama is commuting would have been shorter if the offenders were convicted today. All have served at least 15 years in prison, many under mandatory minimums that required judges to impose the long sentences.