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NY Gov Commutes Sentences of Two Inmates

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Governor David Paterson has granted clemency to two inmates, but criminal justice advocates are disappointed, saying he's failed to overhaul what they call "unfair drug policies."

Paterson commuted the sentences of one inmate serving 20 years on a drug conviction, and another who was serving 15 years for first-degree robbery. Randy Credico is with the William Kunstler Moses Foundation, which advocates for repealing the state's Rockefeller-era drug laws. He says Paterson should have granted more clemencies, particularly for non-violent drug offenders.

CREDICO: He had an opportunity to set the stage to change the direction of the criminal justice system in the state of New York and he didn't do it.

REPORTER: Credico says in the past, the governor's been a strong proponent of overhauling the Rockefeller laws.

A Paterson spokesman says 450 inmates applied for clemency, but most did not meet the criteria to be granted a commutation, and of those few were drug offenders.

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