aside Great News: President Commutes Sentence For 63 Year Old Alice Johnson

Image result for photos of alice johnson
ALICE JOHNSON

This is probably the first decent action that I’m willing to attribute to the republican President Donald Trump. On the 6th of June 2018, he has commuted the sentence of a Black woman who was charged with a first time non-violent drug offense but who had been sentenced to a life sentence in prison with no chance for parole. She has already served  over 20 years of her time.

There are numerous peoples who will be supportive of this good news but the president will have his naysayers as Ms. Johnson was not a low level person in the illegal cocaine drug business.

The people who have known her well in and outside of the prison all say that she has been a model prisoner who has done a lot of good within the system and that she has demonstrated all of the signs of true remorse.

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Kimberly Kardashian

She has not received a pardon but her sentence has been commuted to the time she has already served. She will be welcomed home by her family today, the 6th of June 2018.

Alice Johnson is an example of the unfairness in meting out justice in the USA as most first time drug offenders, even those involved in money laundering received much lesser sentences.

This time the celebrity Kim Kardashian did good by personally bringing Ms. Johnson’s case to the attention of President Trump.

Image result for photos of alice johnson

Here is the rest of the story…

On June 6, 2018, German Lopez of VOX penned the following report, “Trump wants to execute drug dealers. But he granted commutation to the 63 year old- and it worked.” (“Kardashian personally lobbied Trump to grant a pardon or commutation to the 63-year-old — and it worked.”)

“Kim Kardashian West gets results: President Donald Trump has commuted the life sentence of Alice Johnson, the 63-year-old great grandmother in prison for drug trafficking, whose cause Kardashian lobbied for in the Oval Office.”

“The commutation, confirmed by the White House, comes quite quickly after Kardashian’s meeting with Trump in the Oval Office last week, which Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, arranged so the pair could talk prison reform and Johnson’s potential pardon.”

Image result for photos of alice johnson

“Trump’s move is all the stranger because it goes against the broader policy that Trump has been pushing for drug dealers and traffickers. In response to the opioid epidemic, Trump has said that the government should execute drug dealers and traffickers. More broadly, his administration, under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has adopted a “tough on crime” view toward drugs.”

“But it adds to the unusual string of pardons and commutations that Trump has carried out since he took office last year — typically to friends or allies or, as seems to be true in Kardashian’s case, causes embraced by friends and allies. That kind of nepotism has reportedly horrified even some of Trump’s top advisers, according to Ashley Parker, Robert Costa, and Josh Dawsey at the Washington Post:”

“[T]he potential pardon of Johnson has caused consternation in the West Wing, with top advisers — including chief of staff John F. Kelly and White House counsel Donald McGahn — disturbed by the process, according to two people familiar with the discussions.”

“Kelly has reviewed Johnson’s background and her 1996 conviction — she was sentenced to life in prison on drug possession and money laundering charges — and is not convinced she deserves a pardon, an administration official said. And McGahn has also argued against the possible pardon as an unnecessary action by the president, a second official said.”

“Regardless, the Post’s reporting suggests that more of these pardons and commutations are coming. “

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Who is Alice Johnson?

“Johnson has been serving a life sentence for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense. Since there’s no parole in the federal system, she’s not eligible for it. Johnson, who was sentenced in 1996, has already been in prison for more than 20 years.”

“According to the Associated Press at the time, Johnson helped lead a multimillion-dollar cocaine ring from 1991 to 1994. At her sentencing, US District Judge Julia Gibbons said that Johnson was “the quintessential entrepreneur” in the operation, “and clearly the impact of 2,000 to 3,000 kilograms of cocaine in this community is very significant.” She was tried on cocaine conspiracy and money laundering charges.”

drug use and arrests

“Johnson told Mic that she got involved in the drug trade at a particularly bad time in her life. Her son had died in a motorcycle crash, and her marriage had ended in divorce. She also had lost her job, causing financial strain. “I couldn’t find a job fast enough to take care of my family,” she said. “I felt like a failure.”

The damage done by the prison sentence is permanent, Johnson said: “I missed the birth of my grandchildren, being able to be in their life. I just had a great-grandson. I missed that. Both of my parents had passed away. “

“Kardashian first heard of Johnson’s case through Mic’s reporting, tweeting in response to the video, “This is so unfair…”

“According to Mic, Kardashian then approached her lawyer to help deal with the case and has communicated directly with Johnson. Johnson subsequently wrote an op-ed for CNN in May titled “Why Kim Kardashian thinks I should be released from prison.”

“Johnson acknowledges that she did something wrong. The question, for her, is if she should really spend the rest of her life in prison for a nonviolent offense.”

“The real Miss Alice is a woman who has made a mistake,” Johnson said. “If I could go back in time and change the choices that I made and make different choices, I would. But I can’t. But what I have done is I have not allowed my past to be the sum of who I am.”

Kim Kardashian West

@KimKardashian

Happy Birthday Alice Marie Johnson. Today is for you 🙏🏼✨

Kim Kardashian West

@KimKardashian

I would like to thank President Trump for his time this afternoon. It is our hope that the President will grant clemency to Ms. Alice Marie Johnson who is serving a life sentence for a first-time, non-violent drug offense.

Trump’s commutation of Johnson contradicts his criminal justice policy

“Trump’s commutation of Johnson is all the more bizarre because it goes explicitly against his broader policy agenda.”

“As president, Trump has argued that drug dealers and traffickers, like Johnson, should be executed because, in his view, they’re guilty for the overdose deaths that their drugs cause. As he put it at a rally earlier this year, “If you shoot one person, they give you life, they give you the death penalty. These [drug dealers] can kill 2,000, 3,000 people, and nothing happens to them.”

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“Sessions, who’s in charge of Trump’s Justice Department, has actively tried to carry out this punitive agenda on drugs. In March, he signed off on a memo that asked federal prosecutors to consider the death penalty for cases “dealing in extremely large quantities of drugs.” And last year, he rescinded an Obama-era memo that asked prosecutors to avoid charges for low-level drug offenders that could trigger lengthy mandatory minimums — a move that effectively told prosecutors to pursue the harshest possible punishments for even low-level drug crimes.”

“Meanwhile, as Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, has pursued criminal justice reform, reducing prison sentences for drug offenses has remained out of the question. Instead, Kushner’s efforts have focused on improving conditions in prison and encouraging more rehabilitation programs for inmates.”

Image result for photos of cocaine trade

“This all stands in contrast to the bipartisan efforts of the past several years, in which local, state, and federal lawmakers have moved to make the criminal justice system less punitive.

The argument for such reform: More incarceration and longer prison sentences simply have not worked to significantly reduce crime in the US.”

“As Mark Kleiman, a drug policy expert at the Marron Institute at New York University,  previously told me, “We did the experiment. In 1980, we had about 15,000 people behind bars for drug dealing. And now we have about 450,000 people behind bars for drug dealing. And the prices of all major drugs are down dramatically. So if the question is do longer sentences lead to a higher drug price and therefore less drug consumption, the answer is no.”

“One of the best studies backing this is a 2014 review of the research by Peter Reuter at the University of Maryland and Harold Pollack at the University of Chicago. They found that while simply prohibiting drugs to some extent does raise their prices, there’s no good evidence that tougher punishments or harsher supply elimination efforts do a better job of driving down access to drugs and substance misuse than lighter penalties. So increasing the severity of the punishment doesn’t do much, if anything, to slow the flow of drugs.”

“Broader evaluations have found mass incarceration has only a small effect on crime. A 2015 review of the research by the Brennan Center for Justice estimated that more incarceration explained about 0 to 7 percent of the crime drop since the 1990s, though other researchers estimate it drove 10 to 25 percent of the crime drop since the ’90s.”

A chart of the US prison population.

“Another review of the research, published in 2017, led researcher David Roodman at the Open Philanthropy Project to conclude that “tougher sentences hardly deter crime, and that while imprisoning people temporarily stops them from committing crime outside prison walls, it also tends to increase their criminality after release.”

“To that last point, the National Institute of Justice declared in 2016, “Research has found evidence that prison can exacerbate, not reduce, recidivism. Prisons themselves may be schools for learning to commit crimes.”

Link to article: Trump wants to execute drug dealers. But he just pardoned one … – Vox

13 comments

    • Dear Holly,

      Ms. Johnson was indeed blessed that a celebrity was willing to go before Emperor Trump to plead her cause and that he listened. But the president did act against the wishes of his advisers to do this.

      This is a first. I wonder if he is trying to impress Melania. Notice the type of events where she has been accompanying him like visiting FEMA workers and meeting with Gold family members. Maybe she has a bit more power than she realizes.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This was all a publicity stunt and it stinks to high heaven. Kim Kardashian doesn’t deserve a medal or accolades for this neither does Trump. There are millions of people sitting in jail right now under the same conditions as this Ms. Johnson. There are African American children who got life sentences languishing in our jails because they were in possession of a piece of a joint. There are also hundred’s of thousands of lawyers and non profits doing pro bono work trying to get them out of jail or at least make it so that they can see sunlight some day. This to me was an offense to my sense’s to believe that because Kim Kardashian is a millionaire that she can waltz into the Oval Office and request ANYTHING when those who devote their time and energy for no pay get turned away and ignored. If she really wanted to do something for the cause she should march with the protesters who are trying to make sure that this administrations plans to continue this practice get stopped in it’s tracks. She should donate money to organizations that are actually doing something instead of using someone’s life as a photo op for her fans.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Doubledragon61,

      I admire your righteous outrage.

      You argue your point of view so persuasively that I have to agree with you. There are good people from both sides of the aisle working hard to bring equity to the justice system but there’s a long way to go. They are being opposed by those who claim to be for “law and order. This is a major US human rights failure that needs fixing yesterday.

      Unfortunately, because the President Trump caters to that base, that”law and order” intolerant kind, little will get done under this administration. Can you imagine AG Sessions lifting a finger?

      Admittedly while Kim Kardashian and President Trump got their self-serving photo-ops, one human being was shown mercy and for this, I am grateful.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Like

  2. Ach, but methinks there is something rotten in the principality of the District of Columbia. Do you think it could be the smell of Kim Kardashien trying to get her dealer out of jail because her replacement is charging her too much? Or is it that KKW blew the president’s tiny whistle once he agreed to her not-so-tiny request? One can only speculate…
    Meanwhile, if KKKing DDDonnie actually wanted to do something about the number of deaths due to drug overdoses of late, he should look to the ones most responsible, the doctors who start people on Fentynal prescriptions that get them addicted, then either prescribe them higher doses, or, worse yet, cut them off cold turkey and basically force them to turn to the black market, where who knows how much of the drug goes into any particular pill?
    To blame drug dealers and pushers as the only ones responsible for drug overdoses is to deny all the current science on this topic. But then, since the Disputing Theoretician doesn’t believe in Science, why should we be surprised he blames the animals for the deaths of humans. We all know animals are one eff-of-a-lot smarter than humans–after all, DT is one of those animals…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Rawgod,

      Kim Kardashien and President Trump deserve each other as they love to look good and so they both had their moment in the sun as they blessed someone with mercy.

      President Trump will not do much more because of his base who are the intolerant “law and order” kind who like to look and act like hard noses.

      The drug problem is complicated in a way which requires a multitude of solutions. But President likes one simple solution which does not exist.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Like

  3. Gronda, this is good news, but I fear Trump has found a new “Toy of Distraction,” the pardon wand. It should be noted he is not following protocol for pardons, because rules don’t apply to the King. Yet, my sense he will distract the media (or salve wounds) with these pardons a he steals people’s candy. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Keith,

      I fear that you are right. This act of pardoning others is so easy for him to do as it requires little thought or vetting. That is nirvana for our president. We can expect to see many more.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Like

  4. Yes, this is a good thing but in no way can we trust that Trump does anything just to be seen as a ‘good guy’. I’m thinking this whole pardon stuff is a prelude for massive pardons given to anyone Mueller indicts, including possibly himself.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Brookingslib,

    WELCOME!

    You are right to say that whatever the president does invites suspicion because he so rarely acts without an ulterior motive.

    You are right to think that he wants to make full use of his pardon powers.But I’m guessing that Mr. Mueller has made plans to counteract the president’s plans.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Like

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