Commutations for just 8 of 6,561 applicants
President Obama commuted the sentences Wednesday of eight prisoners serving lengthy terms for drug charges, but it was only a fraction of the 6,561 who applied for his help.
The Justice Department announced in January an ambitious program to recruit lawyers to help drug offenders jailed under harsh sentencing laws to seek presidential clemency. The move was in line with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.'s push to reduce the prison population, particularly among African Americans serving disproportionally longer sentences for crack cocaine.
In April, the department announced fairly restrictive rules for who would be eligible. Prisoners must have served at least 10 years, have no violent history, and have received a substantially longer sentence than they would have received today.
- Tribune Washington Bureau
Court rebuffs Brewer
Thousands of young immigrants moved closer to getting driver's licenses in Arizona when the U.S. Supreme Court by 6-3 on Wednesday rebuffed the governor's latest bid to deny the licenses. The court denied Gov. Jan Brewer's request to put a lower-court decision on hold. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had told the case's judge to bar enforcement of Brewer's policy denying licenses to 20,000 young immigrants protected from deportation by a 2012 White House policy. - AP