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Obama commutes prison sentences for 5 from Illinois

President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 61 people on Wednesday, including five from Illinois, convicted of drug offenses. | Getty Images

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 61 people on Wednesday, including five from Illinois, convicted of drug offenses. In the afternoon, at the White House, Obama will meet with people who were released from prison after their presidential commutations.

White House counsel Neil Eggleston wrote in a White House blog post, the 61 new commutations were given to “individuals serving years in prison under outdated and unduly harsh sentencing laws. More than one-third of them were serving life sentences. To date, the president has now commuted the sentences of 248 individuals — more than the previous six presidents combined. And, in total, he has commuted 92 life sentences.”

The Illinois prisoners:

• Larry Nokes of Quincy

Offense: Conspiracy to distribute controlled substances; possession of a controlled substance; Central District of Illinois

Sentence: Life imprisonment; 10 years’ supervised release (December 10, 2007)

Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2016

• Jose Ramon Rivera of Chicago

Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin; distribution of heroin (two counts); Northern District of Illinois

Sentence: 360 months’ imprisonment; 10 years’ supervised release (November 10, 1993)

Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2016

• Ismael Rosa of Chicago

Offense: Conspiracy to distribute multiple kilograms of cocaine (four counts); use of communication facility in commission of drug offense (two counts); Northern District of Illinois

Sentence: Life imprisonment (August 8, 1995)

Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on March 30, 2017

• Ernest Spiller of East St. Louis

Offense: Distribution of crack cocaine (two counts); maintaining a crack house; possession of a firearm in further of a drug trafficking crime; felon in possession of a firearm; Southern District of Illinois

Sentence: 352 months’ imprisonment; three years’ supervised release; $1,000 fine (August 3, 2000)

Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on July 28, 2016

• Jesse Webster of Chicago

Offense: Conspiracy; attempting to possess with intent to distribute cocaine (incorrectly listed on the judgment as conspiracy); filing false income tax return (two counts); Northern District of Illinois

Sentence: Life imprisonment; five years’ supervised release; $25,000 fine (March 21, 1996)

Commutation Grant: Prison sentence commuted to expire on Sept. 26, 2016, and balance of the $25,000 fine remitted.