Thursday, November 11, 2010

Chronicle: Free Clarence Aaron!

In today's San Francisco Chronicle, Debra Saunders calls on President Obama to discover the pardon power and free Clarence Aaron from prison. Aaron was a first-time nonviolent federal drug law offender in 1993, when he was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Saunders notes:
... his life-until-death sentence demonstrates that a system designed to be tough on drug kingpins has been subverted so that big-time dealers can do short time for testifying against their underlings ... Aaron is in prison for the rest of his life, while all but one of the career dealers have served their time and been set free.... because he was a college kid unfamiliar with the courts, Clarence Aaron did not know how to game the system
Aaron is now 41, has taken responsibility for his crimes and has had a good record in prison. Saunder also observes:
In "The Audacity of Hope," Obama wrote that he hoped he could remain honest as a U.S. Senator. As president, he cannot honestly believe that a 23-year-old first-time nonviolent drug offender should be sentenced to life without parole.
See complete column here.

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