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Oklahoman Among 42 Drug Offenders Granted Clemency by Obama

06-Jun-2016

On Friday, President Barack Obama completed his latest round of granting clemency when he commuted the sentences of 42 drug offenders serving time in federal prison.

One Oklahoma man was among the 42 prisoners who were granted clemency--one of 20 who were serving life sentences before the President commuted their sentences.

Gary Allen Lott, of Oklahoma City, was sentenced to life plus five years in federal prison in 2000 for conviction of multiple methamphetamine-related charges:

  • two counts of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute methamphetamine; 
  • three counts of maintaining a residence to manufacture methamphetamine; 
  • possession of chemicals with intent to manufacture methamphetamine; 
  • use of a firearm in relation to drug trafficking crime.

Lott had previously appealed his sentence, saying that it ran afoul of federal sentencing guidelines in relation to Apprendi v. New Jersey and that the court erred in failing to suppress testimony of certain government witnesses and in denying his motion for a judgment of acquittal on a firearm possession charge. However, the United States Supreme Court affirmed the district court's conviction and sentence.

Lott had also petitioned the President for clemency before, yet clemency has previously been denied. Now, after serving 16 years of a life-plus-five sentence, the convicted drug offender has been granted the clemency he requested. 

President Barack Obama commuted Lott's sentence, but that does not mean the prisoner will immediately be freed. Instead of spending the rest of his life in prison, Lott will have a much shorter sentence. Following presidential clemency, his sentence is now set to expire on June 3, 2018. He has only two more years to serve, rather than the rest of his life.

This latest round of clemency has brought the total number of people for whom President Obama has commuted sentences to 348--that is 149 more than the previous seven presidents combined:

  • Obama - 348
  • Bush - 11
  • Clinton - 61
  • Bush - 3
  • Reagan - 13
  • Carter - 29
  • Ford - 22
  • Nixon - 60

President Obama says that his use of clemency power underscores his commitment to criminal justice reform and his belief that "America is a nation of second chances."



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