President Obama Commutes Sentences of Drug Dealing Firearms Felons

"Deputy James Church walks a hallway in the Franklin County Jail August 26, 2013. County commissioners hope a sales tax will replace the jail.(Dispatch photo by Eric Albrecht)"

By his own admission, President Obama used to snort coke (a.k.a., “a little blow”). On Wednesday, by his own decree, the President commuted the sentences of some 61 drug dealers. Most of the 61 mid-week commutations free felons convicted of cocaine possession with intent to distribute, the rest relating to the illegal distribution of other controlled substances. Wait. What’s this? Twelve of the felons listed by the washingtonpost.com were convicted of a firearms offense! Here’s one . . .

Tommy Howard – Cincinnati, OH

Offense: Use of a firearm during the commission of a drug trafficking offense; Southern District of Ohio Sentence: 292 months’ imprisonment; five years’ supervised release; $1,000 fine (January 8, 2004) Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2016.

Let’s look a little deeper into Mr. Howard’s case, shall we? casetext.com tells the tale . . .

On April 7, 2003 the Cincinnati Police Department (“CPD”) stopped Petitioner for a traffic violation (doc. 23). Petitioner did not have a valid driver’s license, but possessed a temporary driver’s permit (Id.). No licensed driver accompanied him in the car as required by Ohio law (Id.). Petitioner granted the request of the CPD to search his vehicle (Id.).

The officers found a semi-automatic handgun underneath the driver’s seat (Id.). Upon discovery of the weapon, Petitioner attempted to flee on foot from the officers (Id.). After a short chase, the officers apprehended Petitioner and the CPD continued its search of the automobile (Id.). The officers discovered powder cocaine, a digital scale, bags of marijuana, and several empty plastic baggies (Id.). The officers gave Petitioner the Miranda warnings and questioned him. Petitioner claimed that he found the guns and drugs in a bag on a neighboring street (Id.).

The government charged Petitioner with possession of ammunition by a convicted felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), possession with the intent to distribute cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841, and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking offense in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1) (Id.).

Ultimately, a federal grand jury issued a four count indictment alleging: (1) possession of ammunition by a convicted felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1); (2) possession with the intent to distribute cocaine in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841; (3) possession with the intent to distribute marijuana in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841; and (4) possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking offense in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1) (Id.). Petitioner entered a plea of guilty to Count Four, pursuant to a plea agreement (Id.). During his plea colloquy, Petitioner admitted carrying the firearm and possession of the narcotics (Id.).

The Court sentenced Petitioner to 292 months, five years supervised released, a $100.00 general assessment, and a $1,000.00 fine (Id.). Petitioner appealed this sentence; his direct appeal was denied (Id.).

So Mr. Howard was a convicted felon dealing drugs and carrying a firearm (and ammo!) who tried to have his conviction overturned by arguing a technical issue, an “absence of evidence” and ineffective counsel. (Jailhouse lawyer much?)

Mr. Obama wants to stop “gun violence” by degrading and destroying law-abiding Americans’ natural, civil and constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. He just pardoned 12 firearms-toting felons. Connect the dots.

Oh wait. You can’t. What does that tell you? Anyway, I wonder how Mr. Howard scored the presidential pardon brass ring. And why Mr. Obama decided to go on this particular coke binge.

comments

  1. avatar Don says:

    I’m guessing campaign contributions or presidential library contributions to someone connected factor in here.
    This method seems to be the latest scam for laundering payoffs to high level politicians.

    1. avatar James69 says:

      I often wonder about these things too.

    2. avatar Rusty Chains says:

      Yep, this has been happening for a while – google Ray Blanton. There was even a popular local song about him:

  2. avatar Cliff H says:

    What sort of damn fool would engage in a business such as dealing hard drugs, or any drugs, without going about that business effectively armed?

    Where in the Second Amendment does it say, “…shall not be infringed, unless you are a convicted felon who scares the police.”?

    Felons and drug dealers scare me, especially when they go about armed, but governments finding ways to violate the Second Amendment with impunity scares me even more. Where does it end?

    1. avatar jk says:

      You just need to read 3 Amendments further for your answer. 5th Amendment: “No personal shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Your liberty to own firearms may be stripped, so long as you are given due process.

      1. avatar Hannibal says:

        Ding!

      2. avatar Accur81 says:

        Bingo.

      3. avatar James in AZ says:

        And that “due process” hanging somewhere in thin air administered by a bunch of lawyers or lawyer-to-be’s must be PERFECTION like a Glock

        1. avatar Stuki Moi says:

          + a gogool.

          Attempts to equate Jefferson era “due process of law”, with contemporary “arbitrary process of lawyers, judges, politicians and apparatchiks”, may be a nifty bit of newspeakish handwaving for keeping those who ought to know better comfortably bent over with hands solidly locked around their ankles. But that’s also all it is.

  3. avatar TyrannyOfEvilMen says:

    Crime rates are already starting to rise.

    I would suggest installing lighting around your home, installing an alarm, considering getting a dog and being armed and trained.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      Crime rates are rising where subsidized housing is prevalent (Section 8).
      The rest of the country, not so much.

      1. avatar James69 says:

        Shocker!!!!!!! What???

      2. avatar Anon in CT says:

        Guess what? Section 8 is coming to you soon! No matter how nice your neighborhood, Obama thinks a little Section 8 will improve it. And if you disagree, he’ll use the courts to gag you.

        http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/429693/affh-preview-obamas-hud-takes-over-dubuque-iowa

        http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/433467/affh-federal-tyranny-gags-astorino-hillarys-backyard?target=author&tid=1841

        1. avatar neiowa says:

          Yep and in the news this week is that the Dubuque Popo will install their 1000th (ONE THOUSAND) public surveillance camera.on their streets. In a city with pop less than 60000. Chicago or London are no doubt jealous. The city is nearly broke but always $ for such statist BS.

          Note: unsurprisingly, that Dubuque is recovering rust belt city and is as libtard dem a union stronghold as old time Detroit.

          Why pardon or release felons from prison? So they can VOTE dem, If they didn’t vote demtard you think they would be out?

        2. avatar Bob H says:

          You are absolutely right on. HUD is coming for your quiet, rural “neighborhood of opportunity”…

          “To settle that complaint, HUD is requiring Baltimore County to spend $30 million ($3 million annually for ten years) to create 1,000 affordable housing units, either through new construction or rehabilitation.
          The units will be geographically dispersed in “neighborhoods that provide access to opportunity.” The 46-page settlement includes a chart (Exhibit F) listing the 116 relatively affluent census tracts surrounding Baltimore City where most of the 1,000 housing units must be located.”
          http://cnsnews.com/news/article/susan-jones/hud-mandates-affordable-housing-affluent-baltimore-suburbs

        3. avatar Geoff PR says:

          “Guess what? Section 8 is coming to you soon!”

          Yep. What I really hope to see happen is that neighborhood watches enjoy a resurgence in popularity as those who live there start looking out after their own neighborhoods…

    2. avatar James69 says:

      No alarm but we have two dogs and a fence. The wife has been trained to shoot till it clicks. (Revolver, surprise, S&W Governor! w/ Hornandy Critical defense .410) She’s a hell-of-a-shot and mean as a rattlesnake. God Bless Farm Girls. I was lucky enough to find a “Mary Ann” that thinks she’s a “Ginger” you younger guys may not get that reference.

      1. avatar The Original JohnO says:

        I always thought Mary Ann was the cuter of the two.

        1. avatar Geoff says:

          And at 77 last year, still looking pretty good.
          http://www4.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Dawn+Wells+a4c94dpo4xLm.jpg

    3. avatar Kendahl says:

      Control the lights with motion sensors instead of leaving them on all night long. Amateur astronomers already have enough problems with light pollution. Add cameras with flashes to get high quality portraits of trespassers.

      1. avatar James69 says:

        They have a new style now called “Dual bright” lights are on dim till something trips them. Also Game cams can take high quality photos in complete darkness now. No flash to give it away.

  4. avatar TTACer says:

    As ridiculous as this particular pardon is, I can’t help but prefer them to the auction that the “first black (sic) president” held for his pardons in January of ’01.

  5. avatar James69 says:

    Don’t worry they will all be back in jail by Nov. 2016. Now the real questions 1. Did he restore their voting rights?. 2. Did he restore their right to bear arms? 3. Race wise how does this list break down? Of the 61- 57 will be back in jail soon.

  6. avatar Chip Bennett says:

    12 of the 61 commuted sentences had firearms-related charges.

    Barack Obama: “gun violence” hypocrite.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Sigh. That’s what happens when you write a blog post at 2am. Text amended. Thanks for keeping me honest/awake.

      1. avatar Chip Bennett says:

        Wait: what?

        Oh, “pardon” vs “commuted sentence”. I see. I was trying to point out Obama’s hypocrisy on the “gun violence epidemic”, not highlight editorial errors. I didn’t even notice it.

  7. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

    This sort of thing is way better than the stuff he usually does, so I am not going to complain. In fact, if he’d spend the rest of his term releasing non-violent felons, I’d be quite happy.

    1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      Doubt he’ll do that, though, since they (the non-violent offenders) don’t contribute as much or as visibly to the “social problems” Proggies like him want everyone to think require a .gov solution.

      How many Simple Possession of Marijuana or Check Fraud convicts did he pardon?

  8. avatar DMZ says:

    The guy was exercising his human right to self-defense while engaging in business involving consensual possession crimes. Pardon away.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      “Non-violent” criminals are fine, until they aren’t.
      Until they decide to shoot one of their “business associates” and kill a child instead.
      Until they decide to eliminate a witness to the above murder.
      Until they run out of money for dope and rob your house to get some.

      Get a clue. If armed dope peddling is a “non-violent” crime, then why do 80% of murderers have prior records for dope peddling? Violence and illegal drugs go hand-in-hand. One doesn’t exist without the other.

      1. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

        Are you really saying there is no violence without illegal drugs or is this sarcasm?

        1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

          False dichotomy. There are other possibilities to what he’s saying.

          He could be simply saying that those prone to violate drug dealing laws may correlate with those willing to violent other laws, such as using violence against persons.

          There is a correlation between drug dealing and violence; it does not mean the drugs are causing the violence or any other false conclusions, but it cannot be denied that violence among drug dealers is higher than the societal average.

          The next question is if the drug dealing were rendered “legal,” would the violence go away with it? No one knows for sure, but at this stage (given the communities and families in high-drug-crime areas have been destroyed over several generations), it’s a good bet the answer is “No; the violence would remain.”

        2. avatar Curtis in IL says:

          Illegal drugs were not involved, as far as I know, when Kane took a rock and smashed his brother’s skull. It is not a perfect correlation.

          But the correlation between the two in the U.S. today is undeniable. Street gangs are the glue holding them together.

        3. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

          Correlation is not commission though. Also the violent crime rate went up during prohibition (alcohol) and then back down after (even though there was a depression after).

        4. avatar More Dead Soldiers says:

          Testament to the absurdity of drug sentencing. Dread Pirate Roberts is still sitting on a life sentence without parole… but his crime is offending the government, so he is a goner.

      2. avatar DMZ says:

        Holy shit, I’m reading an unironic “a harmless guy with a gun is harmless until he isn’t,” canard on TTAG. But yeah I agree letting them resolve business matters through the courts would be far superior.

      3. avatar Stinkeye says:

        Violence and selling drugs go together because there’s no other way to solve disputes. You can’t exactly take your competitor to court or engage in arbitration when your business is illegal…

      4. avatar AndrewinVA says:

        “Non-violent” criminals are fine, until they aren’t.”

        Punishment of pre-crime is a hallmark of the nanny state.

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      Mmm… no. As long as Obama and his gun control crowd keep telling us we need MOAR LAWS because the old ones weren’t good enough I think we need to leave people convicted of committing crimes with guns right where they are behind bars. Especially since they make up his base.

  9. avatar jwm says:

    When you’re in business with the cartels you need to do them favors from time to time.

  10. avatar Anner says:

    Is this real life?

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      (or) Is this just fantasy?

      Easy come, easy go, will you let me go?

      Bismillah! Obama will let you go!

  11. avatar m11nine says:

    In all fairness, these folks were just “undocumented pharmacists”, so modern social justice requires us to be a bit more lenient with their sentences.

  12. avatar Mike W. says:

    Drugs are bad, m’kay.

    1. avatar James in AZ says:

      Making drugs illegal is worse. Prohibition on easily manufactured items simply is not enforceable. How do you think the cartel got so big, gangs got so rich, and the po po got so many MRAPs?
      Legalize drugs, let big pharmaceutical companies make them commercially with proper quality control, sell them in the corner shop, let high supply shift down the price, use propaganda like on cigarette boxes and such. And then a major source of funding/incentive for violent crimes will be gone. Some more people will do drugs, that’s the only downside. But given the current situation it’s a better solution than people in da hood killing each other and then get killed by cops.

  13. avatar Shire-man says:

    All day yesterday NPR was making this sound as nice as possible. No mention of violence or firearms whatsoever painting them all as simple victimized users who got caught up in an unfair system.

    Funny how in the twelve times I heard them report this yesterday they never once mentioned anyone like poor Tommy would be among the group.

    1. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

      Without being convicted of harming anyone, 292 months does seem a bit severe to me.

      1. avatar James69 says:

        Prior record??

        1. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

          I posit that you should only incarcerate people if they are a threat to others, not because they have a habit of violating laws that are likely unethical to begin with.

      2. avatar Bosko Dewlapp says:

        You have no idea how much harm the man did or did not do. Sentencing juries are allowed to see a convicted person’s entire record for the very good reason that habitual criminals need to be removed from society. He probably had a mile-long rap sheet.

  14. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    Think they’ll get caps and gowns after they graduate out of the penal system?

  15. avatar Pascal says:

    Meanwhile in Chicago:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-chicago-homicides-first-quarter-met-20160330-story.html

    “As the first quarter of 2016 nears an end, violence in Chicago has reached levels unseen in years, putting the city on course to top 500 homicides for only the second time since 2008.

    As of 6 a.m. Wednesday, homicides totaled 135, a 71 percent jump over the 79 killings in the same year-earlier period, official Police Department statistics show. That represented the worst first quarter of a year since 136 homicides in 1999, according to the data.

    Shootings have jumped by comparable numbers as well. As of Wednesday, at least 727 people had been shot in Chicago so far this year, a 73 percent rise from 422 a year earlier, according to a Tribune analysis of department data.

    Worse yet, that jump follows two consecutive years in which shootings rose by double digits, the analysis found. Homicides also rose by about 12.5 percent last year over 2014.”

    “Black Lives Matter” only when it does not stand in the way of a political agenda.

    1. avatar James69 says:

      Fight the Power!!!!!!

  16. avatar DavidinNC says:

    Obama logic: “You own your guns legally and abide by the law? Give them up. You owned your guns illegally and broke the law? Here, go get them back.”

    A bigger hypocrite I have never seen.

    Also, I hope no more than 12% of those he pardoned are African American. Because, you know, he’s so quick to point out disproportional statistics based on racial demographics in America. So, hopefully a disproportionate amount of whites in this group weren’t left behind to continue serving justice. Right?

  17. avatar CMM says:

    Drug dealers need self defense too.

    1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      Of course they do, and there are cases where the courts have sided with that conclusion. As well, many here on this site make that same statement: everyone has a natural right to self defense.

      How much gun use by drug dealers is “self defense,” though? That’s the $64,000 question for a lot of folks.

      What drug dealers don’t have the “Right” to do is use firearms for the furtherance of their drug dealing business. This would be true whether drug dealing were legal or not, just like it would not be “right” for Bill’s Lawn Service to shoot Larry of Larry’s Grass cutting so Bill can take over his territory.

      The problem with conflating “drugs” and “guns” in any discussion is that they are both emotionally laden terms/issues. This makes them easy TO conflate and hard to apply rational discussion.

      1. avatar Accur81 says:

        Well said, sir.

    2. avatar More Dead Soldiers says:

      They do indeed, especially against government gangsters.

  18. avatar The Phantom says:

    I don’t get it. Does this mean I can carry without a permit if I sell any drug or just cocaine?
    Not to offend anyone but what is the racial breakdown of the pardons? I will not use the information to discriminate against anyone but, being white, the answer is critical to my career path. Lastly does anyone remember how Superman (the real one) escaped from Bizarro world?

  19. avatar Pantera Vazquez says:

    Very interesting to see how many of those released by executive order will/have return/ed to lock up. Convicts return to a world which does NOT trust them, nor opens many doors for them. Society is then subject to the actions of angry ex jailbirds.

  20. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

    All this young man’s problems could have been avoided if only he had not given consent for a search and kept his mouth shut….
    Am I right?

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      As you read the description the crime, those “(Id.)” parentheticals work very well if you assume each is an abbreviation of “(Idiot.)”…

      Yeah, I don’t understand why you would consent to a search of your vehicle if it’s loaded with illegal shit. You think the cops are just not going to see that gallon Ziplock of weed in the trunk or the Hi-Point under the seat?

      1. avatar Accur81 says:

        Not sure of the laws in the state here, but in CA if your are stopped and unlicensed (12500 VC), it’s pretty easy to get into a car pursuant to a vehicle impound (22651 (p) VC). Technically a vehicle search prior to an impound or storage is considered an inventory. I know a lot of states have similar laws, but I don’t know the relevant sections.

        Often, repeat offenders have a general awareness of said laws. That’s probably why this guy fled on foot (AKA foot bail).

  21. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    I can only assume the newly freed criminals were all illegal aliens?

  22. avatar Frank in Spokane says:

    “Mr. Obama wants to stop ‘gun violence’ by degrading and destroying law-abiding Americans’ natural, civil and constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. He just pardoned 12 firearms-toting felons.”

    Sorry Mr. Farago, but I ain’t buying the “use of a firearm” federal drug war Bovine Scat.

    Had he perhaps pointed the gun at someone during the traffic stop or foot chase, I’d be sympathetic. But the mere possession of a gun while also in possession of illegal drugs does not, in and of itself, constitute a crime of violence.

    I’m no fan of Bodaprez (or even recreational drug use). But perhaps you can go find him pardoning someone who actually committed or threatened violence with a gun.

  23. avatar FormerWaterWalker says:

    Meh. Nothing outa’ the ordinary. Gotta’ pad those dumbocrat roles…and cement your “legacy”. “Change we can Relieve ON”…

  24. avatar Docduracoat says:

    Making drugs illegal and incarcerating an entire generation of black fathers ( and lots of mothers, too) has had the unintended consequence of destroying the 2 parent family among black people
    The rap culture glorified in media has had a pernicious influence as well. By glorifying crime and denigrating study and work.
    This has directly led to the current situation where young men ( and women) grow up without the role models needed to get an education, get a job and get ahead in America.
    My middle class neighborhood has lots of guns and our condo association meetings have a lot of conflict. I would suppose we must have some drug users as well. No ones been shot or even arrested yet.
    Across the tracks from us is a minority neighborhoods with lots of shootings and police activity.
    I theorize that we subscribe to an older world view of civilized behavior.
    Although I do plan to sue the association if they remove my shade tree!

  25. avatar iowaclass says:

    The War On Drugs is the most likely mechanism for destroying the Second Amendment.

    1. avatar AndrewinVA says:

      The War on Drugs, along with the War on Terror, have been widely successful mechanisms for diminishing of the Bill of Rights.

      1. avatar Stuki Moi says:

        The WAR on terror, the WAR on drugs, the WAR on poverty, the WAR on crime….. All nothing but obfuscation of the big, underlying one, the WAR on freedom.

        1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

          Oooo, very well said.

  26. avatar Priest of the center mass says:

    12?
    Are those his anti apostles?

  27. avatar Mudshark says:

    Its a mess, Ive allways said legalize every drug there is. Overdoses and shootings will eventually weed em out. Legalization would eliminate alot of black market gang stuff. The end of prohibition put the hurt to alot of gangs. I dont think them people whom got pardoned vote, as an x drug addict, Im pretty sure they dont vote, theyve got only one thing on their mind and it isnt politics, family or the price of grocceries. Dope heads with guns is not a good thing.

  28. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    What a freqqin genius. Let them out if they were non violent or possession for self usage. Like reasonable small amounts.
    Not for real violent felons into drugs as a career and profit for crying out loud.
    This is one of the main problems with this guy since day one.
    No justice is served by all the carrier criminals his Justice Dept has put back on the streets. To just do their business all over again.
    The good old revolving door.
    Solves nothing.
    Then he goes and does this.

  29. avatar Wrightl3 says:

    He jus releasin some his sons.

  30. avatar John doe says:

    See here is the problem with these progressives. The issue to them is not the person with who violates the law. The person to them is good, and the presence of the firearm is bad, thus if they remove guns, people won’t commit crime or do bad things to others. So ultimately the issue to progressive thinking people is, get rid of guns and people won’t do bad things, thus bad things won’t happen. And the world will be safe from harms-way.

  31. avatar mike says:

    61 more votes for Hillary

  32. avatar David says:

    He DID NOT pardon them he commuted their sentences.
    BIG difference.
    Most have already served from 13 to 25 years and have served more than than the current sentencing guidelines would allow.

    1. avatar gs650g says:

      Gee since you put it that way I feel so much better

  33. avatar gs650g says:

    Just wait until January when he empties the jails. Maybe Castro will take our criminals like we took his in.

  34. avatar Roymond says:

    Just two things:

    First, unless you’re upper middle class or better, all counsel is ineffective — that’s just the way the game is played. Second, if Obama had any balls, he would have pardoned all non-violent marijuana users his first day ion office, all non-violent users of drugs that come from plants one year later, and the rest the year after that.

  35. avatar October says:

    This is the same as the Ukrainians releasing countless thugs from prison to commit violence against protestors during their Orange revolution. Expect the same. They are to be Obama’s shock troops among BLM groups during their 2nd push for civil war this summer.

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