Although commutation of sentence is an “extraordinary remedy that is rarely used,” that’s about to change.
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Congress can pass legislation giving judges more discretion in the sentencing of prisoners, but President Obama “also has the ability to take executive action” to commute the sentences of “low-level” drug offenders — and that’s just what he plans to do, Deputy Attorney General James Cole told the New York State Bar Association annual meeting on Thursday.

“A little over a month ago, the President commuted the sentences of eight men and women who were sentenced under severe — and out of date — mandatory minimum sentencing laws,” Cole said.