Pres. Obama Grants Clemency To 14 North Carolinians Imprisoned On Nonviolent Drug Crimes

Jan 18, 2017

Thirteen North Carolinians had their sentences commuted and  one other was granted a pardon by President Barack Obama on Tuesday as part of 273 acts of clemency issued by the White House. All fourteen North Carolinians were imprisoned on nonviolent drug convictions.

The majority of the convictions involved possession or sale of "crack" cocaine, which carries mandatory sentences far longer than those for the powdered version of the drug. Obama has taken steps to address the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine, signing the Fair Sentencing Act in 2010 that reduced penalties from a 100:1 weight ratio to an 18:1 ratio. Many of the North Carolinians receiving a second chance from the president were convicted before the law was passed.

Below is a full list of commutations and pardons for North Carolinians announced by the White House on Tuesday:

Jimmy Alton Pierce – Hampstead, NC

  • Offense:  Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana (Eastern District of North Carolina)
  • Sentence:  48 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (September 5, 1995) (as amended September 15, 1997)
  • Pardoned

Raymond Brown -- Roper, NC

  • Offense: Possession with intent to distribute more than five grams of cocaine base (crack): possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; Eastern District of North Carolina
  • Sentence: Life plus 60 months' imprisonment; eight years supervised release (August 5, 2009)
  • Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 360 months' imprisonment

Billy Ray Fairley, Sr.  – High Point, NC

  • Offense: Distributed cocaine base (crack); Middle District of North Carolina
  • Sentence: 288 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (December 12, 2002)
  • Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on January 17, 2019, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

Kenneth Wayne Gragg – Hickory, NC

  • Offense: Possession with intent to distribute a quantity of methamphetamine (two counts); possession of a firearm and ammunition in and affecting interstate commerce by a convicted felon; carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime; Western District of North Carolina
  • Sentence: 300 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (August 7, 2007)
  • Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on January 17, 2019, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

Fontelle Ricardo Groves – Clayton, NC

  • Offense: (1) Supervised release revocation (conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine base); Eastern District of North Carolina. (2) Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of cocaine base (crack); Eastern District of North Carolina
  • Sentence: (1) 51 months’ imprisonment (December 19, 2005). (2) 262 months' imprisonment (concurrent); five years' supervised release; $2,100 restitution (March 7, 2006)
  • Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 188 months' imprisonment and unpaid balance of $2,100 restitution remitted, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

Wesley Hodge ─ Havelock, NC

  • Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and cocaine base; Eastern District of North Carolina
  • Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years’ supervised release (July 28, 1997)
  • Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 360 months’ imprisonment, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

Adrien Tyrell Horne – Greenville, NC

  • Offense: Possession with intent to distribute a quantity of cocaine and more than 50 grams of cocaine base (crack); possession of a firearm during and in relation to drug trafficking crime; Eastern District of North Carolina
  • Sentence: 180 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (March 17, 2008)
  • Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on May 17, 2017.

Doyle Ray Morgan – Old Fort, NC

  • Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine; Western District of North Carolina
  • Sentence: 360 months' imprisonment; eight years' supervised release (January 28, 2003)
  • Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on January 17, 2019, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

Michael Thomas Potts – Greensboro, NC

  • Offense: Possess with intent to distribute cocaine base (“crack”); Middle District of North Carolina
  • Sentence: 360 months' imprisonment; eight years' supervised release (November 12, 1998)
  • Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on January 17, 2019, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

Kunta Kenta Redd – Hampstead, NC

  • Offense: Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base (crack) and a quantity of cocaine; Eastern District of North Carolina
  • Sentence: 324 months' imprisonment; five years' supervised release (July 8, 2009)
  • Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 188 months' imprisonment.

Kenneth Louis Reid – Marshville, NC

  • Offense: Possession with intent to distribute cocaine base; Western District of North Carolina
  • Sentence: 240 months' imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (September 4, 2007)
  • Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on January 17, 2019, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.

Rodrikus Marshun Robinson ─ Pittsboro, NC

  • Offense: Possessed with intent to distribute cocaine base (crack); possessed with intent to distribute cocaine hydrochloride; Middle District of North Carolina
  • Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years’ supervised release (July 25, 2003)
  • Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on May 17, 2017.

Rodney Anton Williamson – Greensboro, NC

  • Offense: Conspiracy: distributed cocaine hydrochloride; Middle District of North Carolina
  • Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years' supervised release (December 7, 2007)
  • Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 360 months' imprisonment.

Terry Woods – Mebane, NC

  • Offense: Conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine hydrochloride and 50 grams or more of a mixture and substance containing cocaine base; Eastern District of Tennessee
  • Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years’ supervised release (February 23, 2005)
  • Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to a term of 360 months’ imprisonment.