Akron Man Among President Obama's Record-Setting Drug War Commutations


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  • Photo courtesy of Steve Jurvetson via Wikimedia Commons
Now, as the Obama era is rounding third and heading for home, we can safely say one of the President's largest benchmarks has been his commitment to opening up a conversation about sentencing reform and the hangover from the Drug War (whether or not the president has actually done enough to correct those problems, we'll leave for another time). Part of that move has been Obama's systematic commutation of over-zealous Drug War sentences. 

Yesterday, the White House announced that 216 current inmates would soon be released, bringing the total number of convicts released by Obama to 562. One Akron man — Ervin Darnell Worthy — is among the current crop. 

According to Ohio.com, Worthy was arrested in 1995 as part of a major sting of a cocaine ring running product between New York and Ohio. He was convicted of conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute and possessing a firearm as a felon, among other charges. Under the hard-ass logic of the Drug War sentencing code, Worthy was handed a life sentence. 

Worthy himself has been actively pushing for his release. In 2009, he started a change.org petition calling for increased pressure on the government to loosen his sentence. He wrote [sic]:

I am a native of Akron Ohio, Summit County. I graduated from St. Vincent -St. Mary High School, of Akron Ohio. As of now I have servec 14 years of a life sentence without the possibility of parole for a non-violent drug conviction. Sadly in the Federal System there is no parole. I've exhaused all of my appeal rights to gain relief of any kind. Also, the harsh non-retroactvity of the Federal Mandatory Minimum sentencing laws will ot allow me to return to society. Presently, my only option for relief is to file this request for a paron. I need your assistance to help redeem a man's life. I am pleading for your support and assistance rom those who will support my cause.  

Under the Obama sentence commutation, Worthy is expected to be released on August 3, 2017. He'll have served 21 years in federal prison. 

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