President Obama Commutes Sentence of Mobile's Clarence Aaron

President Obama Commutes Sentence of Mobile's Clarence Aaron

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 “It’s given me back my life.”

 It was the phone call Linda Aaron received today from her son Aaron – imprisoned for 21-years – but whose sentence was commuted today by President Obama.

“He was so humble, and grateful, and thankful for all the people who helped him and to President Obama foremost,” said Aaron in relaying her son’s thoughts. “He was really just humble about it and I heard him cry for the first time since he’s been gone.”

More than twenty years ago, Clarence Aaron was a senior playing football at Southern University in Baton Rouge. He had no previous criminal record.

He introduced his cousin and some friends from Mobile to a classmate in Louisiana. They wanted to make a cocaine deal. Aaron was paid $1500.

Arrested in a cocaine conspiracy, he received life without parole. The others, all with long criminal records, were arrested first and testified against Aaron. His cousin got probation. The so-called kingpin received 12 years.  

Aaron became the poster boy in the fight against mandatory federal drug sentences, conspiracy laws, and a federal justice system that encouraged testifying against others in plea deals. A PBS Frontline documentary “Snitch” featured these issues and Aaron story almost 15 years ago.

Linda Aaron says through the long ordeal, she believed she would see this day.

“I’ve been through some trials but I kept on knowing that God said it. I believed it. And I knew it was going to happen.”

Clarence Aaron finished his college degree behind bars. Currently at the federal prison in Talladega, Alabama, he will be released in the next 120 days.

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