Obama to free 2 Chicago drug dealers in new wave of commutations

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President Barack Obama on Thursday slashed the federal drug sentences of 58 more people across the country, including a Chicago-area man whose lengthy prison term had already been chopped down by a federal judge recently.

In 2005, Artrez Nyroby Seymour, 36, was sentenced to 300 months in prison for distributing crack cocaine in south suburban Chicago Heights. Last month, U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer cut Seymour’s sentence to 240 months. She said it was unfair that one of his co-defendants bore more responsibility in the drug operation but was serving a smaller prison term.

Seymour had written to the judge last year apologizing for the “monumental mistakes and horrible choices” he made in his past. Since he was busted at age 21, he was involved in programs to deter at-risk youth from committing crimes, he said.

Seymour also apologized to his mother, two daughters and family. He said to the judge: “I don’t proclaim to all of a sudden be a saint. I won’t insult your intelligence. But I know that I am at least on the right path to put my life together in the right way.”

At the time of his sentencing, Seymour was found responsible for 1½ kilograms of crack cocaine. Federal prosecutors had opposed Seymour’s sentence reduction last month.

Obama has also commuted the sentence of Derrick Terry, who was convicted of distributing crack cocaine and was sentenced to 262 months in prison in 2003 in a separate investigation. He was accused of dealing 177 grams of crack on the West Side. He also possessed a loaded gun, federal authorities said.

Terry had lost his appeals challenging his sentence.

Seymour and Terry will walk out of prison in September when their sentences will expire, according to the terms of their commutations.

Obama has commuted the sentences of hundreds of people, more than the last six presidents combined, according to the White House. Throughout his presidency, he has opposed harsh sentences for drug crimes, saying they are excessive and have led to high rates of incarceration in America.

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