Crime

Woman Granted Clemency By Obama Returns To Jail

| by Michael Doherty

One of the nonviolent drug offenders that former President Barack Obama granted clemency to has violated the terms of her release and will go back to jail.

During Obama's presidency, he granted clemency to more than 1,700 prisoners, with a focus on nonviolent drug offenders. Texas woman Carol Richardson, 49, had been given a life sentence in 2006 for two counts of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, along with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of crack cocaine, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Obama gave Richards clemency, and she was released from jail on July 28, 2016.

Richardson would have remained under supervision for 10 years under the terms of her release, but on April 13, she was arrested for theft in Pasadena. She had also reportedly violated other terms of her release conditions.

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In addition to her arrest, Richardson had not reported that she had been arrested, that she had changed her address, or that she had been fired from a job because she didn't show up.

According to attorney Mark Anthony Diaz, Richardson was arrested for stealing $60 of laundry detergent that she was planning on selling to purchase drugs. Diaz said that Richards has an addiction to crack cocaine, and asked the judge to assign mandatory drug rehabilitation for her.

Judge Keith Ellison ordered Richards to return to prison for 14 months. After that, she will have five years of supervised release. Ellison agreed to make drug rehabilitation a part of her release.

"This defendant was literally given a second chance to become a productive member of society and has wasted it," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Ted Imperator. "She has clearly shown a willful disregard for the law and must face the consequences for her crimes and actions."

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Another Texan who had his life sentence commuted by Obama returned to jail in February after he was caught with over two pounds of cocaine, according to the New York Post.

Robert Gill, 68, went to jail in 1990 for distributing cocaine and heroin. Obama commuted Gill's sentence in 2015.

On Feb. 2, Gill allegedly purchased more than two pounds of cocaine in a parking lot after he met with his probation officers. After a sheriff's deputy tried to stop him, a high-speed chase ensued and ended with Gill crashing his car into another vehicle.

When police caught him, Gill said "he was going to sell the cocaine to make money and would be paying a female $26,000 for the cocaine."

Ronald Schmidt, a lawyer who had helped Gill appeal his life sentence before his commutation, said he was "so disappointed to hear that he got arrested again."

Gill was charged with possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, and faces up to 40 years.

Sources: Houston Chronicle, New York Post / Photo credit: Sara Jo/Flickr

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