President Barack Obama is being asked to commute the 27 year prison sentence of a woman charged with dealing crack cocaine. The woman, Hamedah Hasan, formerly known as Stephanie Lomax, was convicted in 1993 for being involved in a multistate conspiracy to sell crack cocaine. She had no prior criminal record. She initially received a life sentence that was reduced to 27 years. The trial judge reduced her sentence to 12 years but was overturned by the Court of Appeals. If she had been convicted of dealing powder cocaine, she would have been released from prison a long time ago. The Obama administration has been vocal in its criticism of the sentencing disparities between powder cocaine and crack cocaine. The have even called upon Congress to take action on eliminating the disparity. This case would seem to be a perfect example of the unfairness of the Sentencing Guidelines. Critics of the Sentencing Guidelines are pleading with President Obama to step in and commute the prison sentence for Hasan. President Obama, like Presidents Clinton and Bush, has not used his pardon power in his first year in office. President Clinton ended up pardoning 396 people and commuted the sentences of 61 others. President Bush ended up pardoning 189 people and commuting the sentences of 11 others, including "Scooter" Libby.
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