Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’


President Obama’s clemency on Mississippi cases

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

My column this week looks at President Barack Obama’s clemency actions nationwide as well as in Mississippi. You can read it in the Madison County Journal here.

Below is a list of commutations and pardons granted by President Barack Obama for individuals convicted of crimes in a federal court in Mississippi. The individuals may not be Mississippians, and Mississippians convicted in federal court in other states are not listed. For a full list of President Obama’s commutations go here; for a full list of pardons go here.

COMMUTATIONS

Charles Lee Parker

Offense: Conspiracy to distribute cocaine base

District/Date: Southern District of Mississippi; January 25, 2006

Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years’ supervised release

Terms of grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 262 months’ imprisonment

Charles Edward Price

Offense: Conspiracy to distribute cocaine base

District/Date: Southern District of Mississippi; June 3, 2008

Sentence: 292 months’ imprisonment; five years’ supervised release; $1,500 fine

Terms of grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on May 19, 2017 and unpaid balance of $1,500 fine remitted

Safarra Kimmons

Offense: 1. Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing cocaine base; 2. supervised release violation (Distribution in excess of 50 grams of cocaine base)

District/Date: Northern District of Mississippi; October 8, 2009

Sentence: 240 months’ imprisonment; 10 years’ supervised release

Terms of grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on January 17, 2019, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment

Malcolm Hartzog

Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance; possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance

District/Date: Southern District of Mississippi; March 3, 2005

Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years’ supervised release

Terms of grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 360 months’ imprisonment.

Stanley Knox

Offense: Continuing criminal enterprise; distribution and possession with intent to distribute cocaine base; use of a communication facility to facilitate distribution of cocaine base (seven counts); attempted possession with intent to distribute cocaine; possession with intent to distribute and distribution of cocaine base (two counts); distribution of cocaine base within 1,000 feet of a high school (two counts); use of a communication facility to facilitate the attempted distribution of cocaine base (two counts)

District/Date: Northern District of Mississippi; April 12, 1996

Sentence: Life imprisonment; eight years’ supervised release; $2,000 fine

Terms of grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 360 months’ imprisonment.

Dewayne Damper

Offense: Possession with intent to distribute “crack” cocaine base

District/Date: Southern District of Mississippi; May 12, 2004

Sentence: 360 months’ imprisonment; eight years’ supervised release; $4,500 fine (April 20, 1999); amended to 360 months’ imprisonment; six years’ supervised release; $4,500 fine

Terms of grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on March 22, 2017.

Darrius Lewis

Offense: Conspiracy to distribute cocaine base

District/Date: Southern District of Mississippi; May 20, 2005

Sentence: 262 months’ imprisonment; three years’ supervised release

Terms of grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 188 months’ imprisonment.

Charles Harrison

Offense: Possession with intent to distribute cocaine base, 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1)

District/Date: Southern District of Mississippi; October 25, 2007

Sentence: 262 months’ imprisonment; five years’ supervised release; $1,500 fine

Terms of grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on August 30, 2018, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment, leaving intact and in effect the five-year term of supervised release with all its conditions and all other components of the sentence.

Robert L. Matthews

Offense: 1. Distribution of cocaine base, 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B); possession with intent to distribute cocaine base, 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B); 2. Supervised release violation (possession with intent to distribute cocaine base, 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1))

District/Date: 1. Northern District of Mississippi; June 13, 1997; 2. Western District of Tennessee; September 30, 1998

Sentence: 1. 280 months’ imprisonment; eight years’ supervised release; 2. 15 months’ imprisonment (consecutive)

Terms of grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on December 1, 2016, leaving intact and in effect the eight-year term of supervised release with all its conditions and all other components of the sentence

Cintheia Denise Parra

Offense: Possess with intent to distribute in excess of 500 grams of methamphetamine, 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a) & 841(b)(1)(A)

District/Date: Northern District of Mississippi; September 21, 2006

Sentence: 235 months’ imprisonment; five years’ supervised release; amended to 188 months’ imprisonment (March 18, 2015)

Terms of grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on September 2, 2016, leaving intact and in effect the five-year term of supervised release with all its conditions and all other components of the sentence.

Exdonovan Peak

Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, 21 U.S.C. § 846

District/Date: Southern District of Mississippi; February 13, 1997

Sentence: 365 months’ imprisonment; five years’ supervised release; $12,000 fine

Terms of grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2016, and unpaid balance of the $12,000 fine remitted, leaving intact and in effect the five-year term of supervised release with all its conditions and all other components of the sentence.

PARDONS

Jimmy Wayne Pharr

Offense: Conspiracy to distribute marijuana; possession with intent to distribute marijuana; use of a communication facility to arrange delivery of marijuana (two counts) (Northern District of Mississippi)

Sentence: Six months’ imprisonment; five years’ supervised release (February 2, 1990)

Tietti Onette Chandler, aka Tietti Chandler-Shelton

Offense: Embezzlement of mail matter by a postal employee

District/Date: Northern District of Mississippi; April 1, 1999

Sentence: Three years’ probation, conditioned upon the performance of 150 hours of community service

Bobby Joseph Guidry, aka Bob Guidry

Offense: Conspiracy to import marijuana; conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana

District/Date: Southern District of Mississippi; March 4, 1988

Sentence: Three years’ imprisonment; five years’ probation; $1,000 fine


Thoughts on VRA & agreeing with Obama

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

“Today’s Supreme Court decision on the #VRA is a setback, but it does not mean the end of our efforts to stop voting discrimination.” - @BarackObama

President Barack Obama is correct that today’s Supreme Court Decision on the Voting Rights Act “does not mean the end of our efforts to stop voting discrimination.” Mainly because it is Section 2 of the VRA which forbids voter discrimination. Lyle Denniston explains at SCOTUS Blog:

** Section 2, which the Court said was affected “in no way” by the decision, applies permanently to every state and local government across the nation, forbidding discrimination in voting, but the government or a private challenger must prove that in each case, one at a time.

What it does mean is that now if a county is notified that a polling location is in disrepair (for example, burned down), they can move the polling location across the street without first getting permission from the Department of Justice. And if voters or the government believe it is actually a nefarious plot to suppress voters, that decision can still be challenged. And according to Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, it means:

“The process for implementation of Constitutional Voter Identification begins today. It will be conducted in accordance with the Constitutional Amendment adopted by the electorate, funded by the Legislature, and regulations as proposed by the Secretary of State.”

Hosemann said Voter-ID should be in place by mid-2014.

It means a lot more in between routine and practical election matters and the implementation of a state Constitutional amendment. Just so far in June of this year, the Department of Justice issued notice under Section 4 & 5 of the Voting Rights Act on 16 different cases in Mississippi involving Bolivar, Carroll, Calhoun, Perry, Rankin, Tishomingo, Harrison, Pike and Hinds counties.

But to President Obama’s point, it does not mean voter discrimination can be allowed. Antics like those by Ike Brown in Noxubee County were prosecuted by the Department of Justice under Section 2 of the VRA.

Mississippi’s lone Democratic congressman, the Second District’s Bennie Thompson, piled on to the hysteria saying in a statement, “Today’s Supreme Court decision will make it harder for many Americans to exercise their Constitutionally-guaranteed right to vote.” Not true. Either that was already happening but more slowly (not enacted until pre-cleared, but enacted afterward), or voters will have the same protection from the Courts they have always enjoyed.

Essentially, today’s decision says Congress might find a way to require areas to submit election changes to the U.S. Department of Justice for review and approval, but the current method (using 50 year old data) does not work. It does not touch any person’s right to vote or curtail access to the Courts for policies that might impact voting. Or in the words of the decision:

“The [15th] Amendment is not designed to punish for the past; its purpose is to ensure a better future…To serve that purpose, Congress — if it is to divide the States — must identify those jurisdictions to be singled out on a basis that makes sense in light of current conditions. It cannot rely simply on the past.”


Senator Wicker: Obama ‘Recess’ Appointments when Senate not in recess a “blatant abuse of power”

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

There is nothing unusual about a President making a recess appointment. But to do so when the Senate is not in recess is, as Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker said about President Obama’s recent appointments, a “blatant abuse of power.” I take a look at the recess appointment power and Senator Wicker’s remarks in my column this week. You can read it in the Neshoba County Democrat online: Perry / Wicker disputes ‘appointments’

You can view Senator Wicker’s speech as well:


New Book on Obama Dept of Justice Praises “Macon Beacon”

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

“Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of The Obama Justice Department” by J. Christian Adams is the subject of my column publishing tomorrow in the Madison County Journal.  More on that tomorrow, but, one item that didn’t make it in the column but deserves attention is the praise of Adams for the work of Mississippi newspapers in covering Ike Brown’s shenanigans in Noxubee County - particularly the Macon Beacon.

Adams writes:

Curiously, as the systematic and prolonged violation of voting rights in Noxubee became indisputably clear; the mainstream media lost interest in the story. Only reporters from three Mississippi papers, the Jackson Clarion Ledger, Macon Beacon, and Columbus Commercial Dispatch, attended the new hearings and reported on Brown’s most recent behavior.

And yet, in the end, the Ike Brown lawsuit was testimony to the power of a free press. Our paralegal Joann Sazama first discovered much of the evidence against Brown in the local Noxubee County weekly, the Macon Beacon. Published by Scott Boyd, the Beacon had been fearlessly and relentlessly covering Brown’s antics for years. While the national media was primarily interested in questioning the Bush administration’s decision to bring the case in the first place, the Beacon diligently memorialized crucial political events and reported the straight facts.


Noonan on Obama’s Oil Leadership: “He Was Supposed to Be Competent”

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

While watching response failures to the oil crisis in the Gulf, I’m not someone who immediately sought to criticize President Barack Obama. That is until at his May 27 press conference when he essentially claimed those failures as his own:

“The American people should know that from the moment this disaster began, the federal government has been in charge of the response effort….BP is operating at our direction. Every key decision and action they take must be approved by us in advance….The federal government is also directing the effort to contain and clean up the damage from the spill….my job is to get this fixed….I take responsibility. It is my job to make sure that everything is done to shut this down.”

So, I share this great column by Peggy Noonan from the Wall Street Journal: He Was Supposed to Be Competent.


Freedom of Speech should not be limited due to the identity of the speaker

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

I posted earlier regarding my column on the Citizens United decision. Here are a few other thoughts that cut from the column.

In his State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama criticized the decision saying “the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations - to spend without limit in our elections. I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests.”

Writing for The National Law Journal, Tony Mauro writes “For high court, a rare rebuke”:

Critics who have parsed the remarks point out that the Court in Citizens United left a century-old law intact-the Tillman Act of 1907, which bars direct corporate contributions to candidates. Instead, the Court struck down more recent statutes and precedents affecting independent expenditures – legally different from direct contributions – by corporations. And on the foreign-corporations point, Citizens United explicitly declined to rule on the issue, and other laws undisturbed by the decision regulate foreign participation in U.S. elections.

But aside from that, President Obama seems to believe that the wealthy or powerful should not have the same freedom of speech as you or me. (If you’re reading this and are wealthy or powerful, I don’t meant to exclude you…I’m sticking up for you.) It is troublesome for the State to begin limiting speech because of the identity or characteristics of the speaker. Americans do not lose their freedom to speak as they grow in wealth or power.

For that matter, the Court recognized that corporations with great wealth include some media corporations. There was a media exemption written into the now invalidated law which the Court described as an admission of the law’s failure to uphold free speech, by treating some corporations differently from other corporations because of what purpose they serve.

The Court noted the long tradition that the government cannot limit speech based on the identity of the speaker; and limiting speech based on the wealth of the speaker would do just that. While the Court recognized the state does provide certain advantages to corporations over individuals who combine to create them “such as limited liability, perpetual life, and favorable treatment of the accumulation and distribution of assets” that this does not mean a corporation must forfeit its freedom of speech in exchange of those recognitions.


RR: The MTV President

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

I had some fun this week with my column (http://tr.im/perrymtv) that looked at the collision of celebrity politics and pop culture.  Here are some excerpts.

Every year the MTV Video Music Awards program has some controversy whether true or created that attracts more attention than the actual program. (There is a certain irony to MTV still giving video awards when so little of its programming consists of videos.) Sunday night, rapper Kanye West crashed the stage while 19-year-old pop-country star Taylor Swift was giving thanks for her first Moonman award.

West, with mic in hand, interrupted Swift and began lauding Beyonce whose video had lost to Swift in that category. (Later, Beyonce showed real class when she won another category and invited Swift out to give thanks.) West was escorted from the facility only after Swift’s mother - I guess the Nancy Pelosi to the Joe Wilson of this story - dressed him down. West later apologized in his fashion, first in a blog post and again from the set of the Jay Leno Show.

Within a day, the two stories collided on Internet video remixes of Obama’s health care speech with West’s interruption substituted for Wilson’s remarks. Wilson’s outburst and West’s behavior, combined with the foul mouth tirade of tennis star Serena Williams, had everyone - politics, pop culture, sports - talking about civility.

Then, Monday evening, Obama was sitting for an interview with CNBC. Terry Moran, an ABC reporter, overheard the conversation and hit Twitter, “Pres. Obama just called Kanye West a ‘jackass’ for his outburst at VMAs when Taylor Swift won. Now THAT’s presidential.” [Video of Obama calling West a "jackass"] Turns out, the conversation was “off-the-record” and ABC apologized to CNBC and the White House. (This wasn’t West’s first presidential moment. At a 2005 Hurricane Katrina benefit concert, West made headlines when he announced, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.”)

Wilson misbehaved. He might be correct that the health care bill was contrary to what Obama was saying, but he expressed it in the wrong way.

West misbehaved. I might agree with him that Beyonce’s video was superior to Swift’s video, but he expressed it in the wrong way.

Obama? Well, calling West a “jackass” off-the-record might have been the best way to do it. And I agree with the sentiment as well as the delivery.

You can read the full column online at the Madison County Journal: Perry  / The MTV President


RR: Health care reform or snake oil

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

I didn’t watch all of President Obama’s address last night, and honestly the parts I saw I had already heard on the radio from his pre-speech release. I suspect it will not have the impact he hopes for. Today folks are talking about the speech, tomorrow is the commemoration of 9/11, Saturday will see thousands of Tea Party activists on the National Mall, then we’re back into next week.  I expect any bump in the polls will be short lived - mostly because relatively few people watched the speech. It all comes down to the votes and right now, the whip count doesn’t look good for him and the Democratic leadership.

Another reason is the momentum against health care reform : those against health care reform have a twenty point election intensity advantage over those who support it.  In other words, those against it are REALLY against it, and those for it really don’t care that much.  Its hard to care about health care reform over ten years when you’re thinking about your job and the economy today and tomorrow.

This week I write about health care reform.  Here is an excerpt:

Americans don’t begrudge a snake oil medicine show rolling into town promising a cure to arthritis, influenza, gout, a weak libido, tooth aches, a poor metabolism, acne and a humped-back. What with the charismatic salesman, scarlet banners, a dancing bear, carnival music and testimonials it can be quite entertaining. They might even buy a few bottles of elixir which if nothing else could provide a toddy before bed. Most see the miracle cure salesman for what he is: a profiteer not a physician.

Obama and the Democrats are politicians, not physicians. People see it clearly.

Some voters bought the hope that Obama would be different, a post-partisan president. They even bought his $787 billion stimulus elixir that promised to prevent unemployment from exceeding 8 percent. The current unemployment rate is 9.7 percent and growing. That was one expensive toddy.

The American people simply do not believe the advertised benefits of health care reform.

You can read the full column at the Madison County Journal online: Perry / Health care or snake oil


RR: Obama polling down

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

I spoke with Nicholas Thompson (originally of Collins, Mississippi and now Vice President at The Tarrance Group in Alexandria, Virginia) about President Obama and Congressional poll numbers this week and looked at some recent polling data.  A few items of interest:

Gallup Poll: Self-identified conservatives outnumber self-identified liberals in each of the 50 states. There are more self-identified conservatives now than any time in the last four years. Gallup interviewed more than 160,000 Americans - 40% conservative; 21% liberals. Mississippi ranked #2 in conservatism - 48% conservative, 34% moderate, 15% liberal.

Gallup Poll: 78 percent of Americans worried stimulus money is being wasted; 57% believe it has had no effect or made things worse. More Americans disapproved of President Barack Obama’s handling of health care policy than approved.

Rasmussen Reports: Obama’s approval ratings fell to a new low of 47% with only 42% supporting his health care plan. When it comes to health care, more people fear the government than private insurance companies.

George Washington University Battleground Poll: Republican voter intensity 75%; Democratic intensity 66%. Most Americans believe the country is on the wrong track.

Here is an excerpt:

“Obama’s approval rating has fallen 15-points since his inauguration, which is a greater drop than the last five presidents,” explained Nicholas Thompson, originally of Collins, Mississippi and now Vice President at The Tarrance Group in Alexandria, Virginia. He continued, “At similar points in their presidencies, George W. Bush was down two points, Bill Clinton was down fourteen, Ronald Reagan was up nine, and Jimmy Carter was down six. Given that Obama started with an approval rating that was the highest since John F. Kennedy, this decline is a strong indication that Americans do not think he is meeting the expectations that his campaign and Democrats promised.”

Congress is feeling the impact, too. The Battleground Poll revealed Republicans (45 percent) lead Democrats (40 percent) in the generic ballot among likely voters. This key indicator could spell trouble in swing districts where independents are peeling off Democrats. “The percentage of Americans who plan to vote for the Republican candidate in next year’s congressional races is higher today than before the 2006 Democratic takeover,” Thompson noted.

Thompson said the stimulus and health care debates have caused many Americans to lose confidence in the Democrats: “Polls show Americans believe the Democrats have spent too much money on a stimulus that has either made no difference or made things worse, so their willingness to support a massive overhaul of health care is low right now. The negative impact this is having on Democrats is seen in the sharp decline in trust Americans have for them to handle fiscal issues like government spending, the deficit, and taxes.”

You can read the full column online at the Madison County Journal: Perry / Obama polling down


The Fair Times: Frogs and Pharaohs and Obama criticisms

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

The Fair Times is the daily newspaper of the Neshoba County Fair and in it I wrote two pieces this year on the political speeches.  Wednesday’s speeches featured Dick Hall, Phil Bryant, Lynn Posey, Stacey Pickering and Jim Hood. The speeches from Thursday featured Haley Barbour, Tate Reeves, Mike Chaney, Delbert Hosemann, Kenny Griffis, Bill Waller Jr. and Jim Kitchens.

You can read both commentaries courtesy of The Neshoba Democrat - Wednesday: Frogs and Pharaohs and Thursday: Barbour, Reeves, Chaney target Obama at Fair.


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