February 19, 2020

EH, LIKE THE SONG SAYS, TWO OUT OF THREE AIN’T BAD: Trump Uses Clemency To Help Drug War Victims, Reward GOP Donors, and Spite James Comey.

While much of the media coverage focused on Blagojevich and some of the other high-profile names on Trump’s clemency list (more on that in a moment), there are others whose names you don’t know but probably should.

People like Crystal Munoz, who spent the past 12 years in prison for a nonviolent drug offense. Munoz was convicted in 2007 of assisting a marijuana smuggling operation because she drew a map of a dirt road near Big Bend National Park in Texas. That map was used by drug smugglers, and the Drug Enforcement Administration eventually traced it back to Munoz, who got a 19-year prison sentence despite the fact that she never possessed or sold any of the drugs.

Nothing about Munoz’s case suggests that the 40-year-old mother of two girls is a danger to society who needs to be kept in a cage—she’s just another person in an endless line of drug war victims. Thankfully, Trump’s clemency order will allow her to return to her family.

People like Munoz are “are the forgotten majority of the country’s crisis in mass incarceration, a crisis that disproportionately impacts lower-income communities and communities of color, and they are every bit as deserving of a second chance,” said Holly Harris, executive director of the Justice Action Network, a criminal justice reform nonprofit that advocated for Munoz’s release. In a statement, Harris said she hopes Trump will “use this executive power to grant more commutations and clemencies in due course for any of the thousands of deserving individuals who are neither rich, nor famous, nor connected.”

I predict that will happen.

UPDATE: Politico: I Covered Blago’s Trial From Start To Finish. Trump’s Commutation Isn’t Crazy. “There was one sentiment I heard over and over again, which went something like, ‘I know Blagojevich was guilty as hell, but 14 years is insane.'”

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