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A human face of federal reform in select drug crimes cases

A professional football player says that he recently had the chance to personally convey to President Obama "a couple points my momma wanted me to say to him." What he imparted spotlights criminal law reform in an instructive manner, and we pass along the details of his story -- centrally, his mother's -- for the consideration of our readers in North Carolina and elsewhere.

Many millions of Americans have strong reason to know something -- and sometimes a great deal -- about the draconian effects of criminal sentencing outcomes in many drug cases. Some persons might simply be interested in criminal justice, while others -- and this is hardly a great reach, given the sheer number of individuals languishing in state and federal prisons -- might have family members currently incarcerated behind bars or be locked up themselves.

In a huge number of instances, a lengthy term of confinement owes to what a reasonable person might consider to be a relatively minor criminal transgression, say, the possession or sale of a small amount of marijuana. In many cases, inmates locked up on drug charges in North Carolina and elsewhere were nonviolent and first-time offenders.

A solid reform push is now evident across the United States, and marked centrally by bipartisan agreement and effort.

A notable component of that reform has been the reexamination of select sentencing outcomes and, when deemed proper, their readjustment.

In some high-profile cases, that has meant the commutation or pardon of some nonviolent drug offenders. Recently, President Obama pardoned 46 such individuals.

The mother of Denver Broncos' football star Demaryius Thomas was one of them. She had been serving a decades-long sentence behind bars for her alleged participation in cocaine distribution.

Now she's free. When Thomas and his Super Bowl-winning teammates recently visited the White House, he took the opportunity to thank the President for acting on her behalf.

And, in doing so, he temporarily rekindled the spotlight on reform initiatives.

Many Americans who are alleged wrongdoers in drug cases continue to face a harsh and uncompromising criminal system, both in North Carolina and nationally. Positive changes are occurring, but salutary outcomes in select instances obviously do not equate to universal justice.

A proven criminal defense attorney can answer questions and provide knowledgeable and aggressive representation to any individual who is squared off against the government's daunting resources in a drug crimes matter.

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