President Pardons 5 Virginians, Commutes 9 Sentences

While the headlines focused on Private Chelsea Manning and former baseball star Willie McCovey, among the 209 commutations and 64 pardons announced by President Barack Obama today were several individuals from Virginia, mostly people unknown to the public.

Obama pardon commutation Chelsea Manning VirginiaAll of the Virginians whose sentences were commuted had been convicted of federal drug offenses, while those who were pardoned had been convicted of violating various laws.

According to a list of commutations and pardons published by International Business Times, the Virginians whose sentences were commuted almost all were convicted of cocaine charges (conspiracy, distribution, possession with intent to distribute) with one convicted of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.

The commuted sentences included those of Robin Marie Davis of Roanoke, sentenced in 2009 for 10 years in prison plus 10 years of supervised release; Dujuan Farrow of Richmond, sentenced in 2005 to life imprisonment; Stacey Lane Fisher of Waynesboro (possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and a weapons offense), sentenced in 2011 to 10 years in prison plus 10 years of supervised release; Christopher Lamont Hill of Farnham, sentenced in 2005 to “life plus 84 months imprisonment” followed by eight years of supervised release (which is a neat trick, to have supervised release for any period following life in prison); and Andre Nelson of Norfolk, sentenced in 1999 to life in prison and supervised release.

Others whose sentences were commuted were David Javier Perez of Roanoke, sentenced in 2011 to 130 months in prison plus four years of supervised release; Bruce Samuels of Portsmouth, sentenced in 1993 to life in prison plus five years of supervised release; Curtis Daryle Tinsley of Axton, sentenced to 322 months in prison plus five years of supervised release in 2007; and Dante L. Williams of Richmond, sentenced in 2006 to 30 years in prison plus eight years of supervised release.

The highest-profile Virginian who was pardoned was former Marine Corps General James Edward Cartwright of Gainesville, convicted in the District of Columbia of making false statements to federal investigators about his conversations with journalists about the Stuxnet computer virus program. Cartwright had pleaded guilty in October but was not yet sentenced.

Other pardons went to James Gordon Christmas III of Richmond, convicted of “uttering useless checks” and “wrongful use of cocaine” by a U.S. Army court-martial in 1988; Sheree Lynn Fox of Williamsburg, convicted of making a false bank entry and sentenced in 1983 to three years in prison, three years’ probation, and 400 hours of community service; Oladipo Oluwadare Eddo of Manassas Park, sentenced in 2004 to 46 months’ imprisonment and three years’ supervised release for conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine; and Darryl Pernell Loveless of Fredericksburg, sentenced in Washington state in 1994 to five days in prison, “with credit for time served,” and five years of supervised release conditioned on 300 hours of community service, for conspiracy to import cocaine.

President Obama still has two days and a few hours to commute more sentences and pardon additional individuals. The question on everybody’s mind is, Will he pardon Edward Snowden? My prediction is he will not.