Making a


Difference In Your Life

Spotlight on drug charges, presidential commutation power

On Behalf of | Jan 24, 2017 | Firm News

When we note on a relevant page of our website at Robertson, Oswalt, Nony & Associates that, “A drug charge can have a large impact on your life,” we tacitly acknowledge the inherent understatement of that declaration.

Because, certainly, conviction on a drug charge in Arkansas can turn a criminal defendant’s life upside down, even in what many people might reasonably believe to be a relatively minor misdemeanor matter

Convicted traffickers in hard-core drugs like heroin and cocaine do indeed often spend decades of their lives in prison, but individuals convicted on lesser charges can also find themselves behind bars for many years following the imposition of multi-year terms.

What is notable — both in Arkansas and nationally — is that many long-confined drug defendants are languishing behind bars following sentencing outcomes related to things like marijuana possession, even when those individuals are first-time offenders without any history of past violence in a criminal matter.

That has been noted in a prominent way in recent years by a wide swath of criminal reformers, as well as by state and federal legislators from across the political spectrum. Federal sentencing guidelines in drug cases have been especially spotlighted, coming in for increasingly heated criticism in a bipartisan way that did not exist in prior decades.

A chief opponent of much of the federal sentencing rationale has been ex-President Obama, who took the extraordinary step of commuting the prison sentences of 330 drug offenders last Thursday in what was reportedly his last major official act as chief executive.

As noted in one national media account of the mass commutations, they culminated the former president’s effort “to try to remedy the consequences of decades of onerous sentencing requirements that he said had imprisoned thousands of drug offenders for too long.”

During the entirety of his administration, Obama commuted the federal sentences of 1,715 inmates, being by far the most proactive president in terms of clemency grants of any chief executive in the nation’s history.

Given the potential repercussions, persons facing drug charges always require a strong and focused criminal defense. Questions or concerns regarding any aspect of a drug-related criminal probe or arrest can be directed to a proven Little Rock criminal defense law firm.


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