A commutation of sentence by President Obama in a cocaine case is his first such action, 1,035 days into his presidential term, says Illinois political scientist P. S. Ruckman in his Pardon Power blog. Obama commuted a 20-year prison term for Eugenia Jennings, 34, of Alton, Il. He also issued five pardons, bringing his total number of clemency actions to 23.
Ruckman says the six offenders on average were sentenced 18.8 years ago. One of them had had no prison sentence and only 12 months’ probation. Ruckman says that, “At least arguably, this batch of pardons, however small, does appear to be something like a more significant / serious / relevant use of the pardon power. Is the President waking up?”