Outgoing presidents have the unique ability to commute sentences and pardon criminals. President Donald Trump also got to take a shot at his successor as well.
As one of his last acts as president, Trump commuted the sentence for seven drug offenders, Breitbart reported. Two of those prisoners were serving lifelong stints in prison thanks to President Joe Biden’s 1994 crime bill.
Both 65-year-old Michael Pelletier and 41-year-old Corvain Cooper were locked away for so long because of Biden’s crime bill. Both men were released from their mandatory life sentences imposed under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act signed by President Bill Clinton in September of 1994. At the time, Biden was a U.S. Senator from Delaware, eager to brand the Democratic party as being tough on crime.
Then as is now, the Republican party was tough on crime while the Democratic party worked to excuse criminals. “It doesn’t matter whether or not they’re the victims of society,” Biden said in 1993, breaking with the prevailing stance of his party then, “I don’t want to ask, ‘What made them do this?’ They must be taken off the street.”
In the 2020 presidential race, Biden attempted to distance himself from the legislation as the Democratic narrative shifted to police brutality and blaming racism for criminal incarceration. All the while, Pettelier and Cooper wasted away in prison.
Pelletier was nabbed for smuggling marijuana from Canada to Maine. Ironically, the drug is now legal in both locales even as the man continued to suffer in prison. “I don’t have much strength in my arms due to lack of physical therapy,” Pelletier, a type-2 diabetic who was unable to walk since childhood, said, “so the prison staff hired another prisoner to push me around the compound. He died from COVID.”
Unable to get a ruling on a petition he submitted during Obama’s exit from office, Pelletier had hopes that Trump would “end this nightmare and reunite me with my family.” Trump did just that in commuting his sentence.
Cooper also languished in prison for decades, even as part of his sentence was reduced because of Trump’s criminal justice reform. “Biden is responsible for the 1994 crime law that [resulted in] Corvain Cooper being sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for marijuana,” his attorney Patrick Michael Megaro told the New York Post, “and the Obama-Biden administration was directly responsible for the prosecution and conviction of Corvain Cooper under the 1994 crime law.”
On his last full day in office, Trump signed 70 communications and 73 pardons. He released four other prisoners from life sentences due to marijuana offenses. While the left excuses violent criminals and makes martyrs of the ones killed by police, Trump’s move was instead a commonsense, merciful approach to letting non-violent offenders out of prison.