America would be a better country if Bush were to commute sentences for other nonviolent drug offenders. Clarence Aaron was sentenced to life without parole for a first-time nonviolent drug offense in 1992, when he was 22, and will die in prison without intervention. That sentence is positively medieval.
This is not a drug case, but next month, two Border Patrol agents, Jose Alonso Compean and Ignacio Ramos, will begin serving 12- and 11-year sentences for shooting a fleeing drug smuggler in the buttocks, not filing the necessary reports and depriving the smuggler of his Fourth Amendment right to be free from illegal seizure. Bush should commute their sentences before they report for prison. These two men have paid enough for their mistakes.
Readers frequently ask me what they can do to help win commutations for those serving draconian federal drug sentences. The time to act is now. Write the White House and let the president know you support his commutation of Emmert's sentence and you would like to see more. Show Washington there is political benefit in showing mercy.
To comment, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail the White House, 166 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20500.
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