NEW: President Obama Commutes Sentence of Gov. Patrick’s Cousin
Friday, December 20, 2013
Reynolds Allen Wintersmith Jr., 39, was sentenced to life in prison after a 1994 drug conviction for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine. Wintersmith was a teenager at the time of the conviction, and a first time offender.
Patrick has denied ever meeting Wintersmith and said that he did not play a role in the commutation of his sentence.
Reason for the Commutations
The commutation was one of eight made by President Obama on Thursday. According to the president, the eight individuals were all serving excessively harsh drug sentences. Under old federal law, crack cocaine crimes were treated harsher than those involving the powder form of the drug.
In 2010, President Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act, which reduced the disparity between penalties for crack cocaine and those for powder cocaine. Due to the fact that the law only addressed new crimes, the president decided to commute the sentences of these eight older offenses.
Each of those whose sentences have been commuted served at least 15 years in prison under mandatory minimum sentences.
Prior to today, the president had only commuted one drug sentence. In addition to the commutations, President Obama also pardoned 13 other individuals on Thursday for various crimes.
The Obama Association
Patrick served as a surrogate for the Obama campaign during the 2012 Presidential election. The governor stirred up controversy when he defended the business practices of Bain Capital, the Boston-based venture capital firm that Mitt Romney founded. Patrick’s argument put him in direct opposition with the Obama campaign. Patrick went on to attack Republican Presidential nominee Romney during his speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
In 2012, Patrick acknowledged that the Obama administration approached him about taking a position in Washington, but Patrick told the Obama team that he wished to remain governor.
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