President Barack Obama on Friday released a list showing he’d knocked more than 40 years off the sentences of seven South Carolinians convicted of federal drug crimes.
The men were among 72 convicts nationwide who had their sentences reduced. The total time knocked off the sentences of the seven, all of whom were convicted an intent to sell cocaine, isn’t certain as two of the seven were serving life sentences. One of those sentences was cut to 20 years, and the other to about 23 years.
In total, the seven men had been caught in possession of more than 11 pounds of cocaine, though almost all of that was discovered with one of the men, Eric Marquan Dogan, of Taylors, SC. He was found guilty of intent to distribute at least five kilograms, or 11 pounds, of cocaine. His sentence was reduced from 188 months to 120 months, or ten years. The presidential notice on the case says Dogan, who was first imprisoned in March, 2007, is to be released March 4.
Five of the others will have served more than 10 years in prison for their crimes. One is scheduled to be released after about eight and half years.
The White House webpage, under the heading of “A nation of second chances” notes that during his presidency, Obama has commuted the sentences of 944 men and women. Most were similar to the South Carolinians on this list: Non-violent drug offenders.
The web site does not address the reasons behind reducing the sentences for any specific case, but as a general explanation it notes: “Our nation faces a cycle of poverty, criminality, and incarceration that traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities. Since taking office, President Obama has fought for a smarter and more equitable criminal justice system. He has been committed to using all the tools at his disposal to remedy the unfairness at the heart of the system—including the presidential power to grant clemency.”
The others whose sentences were reduced were James Edward Blackmon, of Lancaster, Michael Jerome Felder, of Johnsonville, Brian Goodine, of Seneca, Daniel Holmes, of St. Helena Island, Dion James, of Florence and Jimmie Lee Mason, of Rock Hill.