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Sentences of 2 Richmond men commuted in Obama’s final acts of clemency

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RICHMOND, Va. — President Barack Obama reduced or eliminated the sentences for hundreds more non-violent drug offenders on Tuesday, likely his final acts of clemency while in office.

The move brings Obama well beyond his most recent predecessors, who used their commutation powers more sparingly. He’s now reduced sentences for 1,385 individuals, the vast majority of whom are serving time for crimes related to distribution or production of narcotics.

He’s pardoned an additional 212 people, a number below that of Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

The sentences of several Virginia citizens, some in Richmond, were commuted.

Dujuan Farrow and Dante Williams were both serving sentences for drug-related crimes.

Farrow was sentenced to life imprisonment in April 2005. He was found guilty of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base.

His sentence was commuted to expire on January 17, 2019, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

Williams was found guilty of possession of cocaine base with intent to distribute. In November 2006, he was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment, with eight years’ supervised release.

Williams will now 17.5 years imprisonment, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

James Gordon Christmas III, of Richmond, was pardoned for his offenses.  He was previously sentenced to 12 months’ confinement and dishonorably discharged from the Army, in the late 80s.

He was found guilty of writing bad checks and wrongful use of cocaine while serving in the Army.

The headline news on Tuesday was the report that President Obama largely commuted the remaining prison sentence for former soldier Chelsea Manning.

After spending seven years in prison, Manning is set to be freed on May 17, 2017.

Earlier this month, a source at the Justice Department told NBC News that Manning’s sentence may be commuted.

Chelsea Manning, who was known as Bradley, was imprisoned in 2010 after leaking 700,000 military files and diplomatic cables to Wikileaks.

Manning pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 35 years for the crime, which is 10 times longer than most other whistle-blowers.