In what the White House called a decisive move echoing the core tenet of equal justice under law, President Joe Biden announced a set of substantial clemency actions aimed at addressing glaring disparities within the U.S. criminal justice system. The president, underscoring bipartisan consensus on the need for a fair and unbiased legal framework, declared a series of important measures toward realizing the promise of equal justice in American communities.
“I am announcing additional steps I am taking to make the promise of equal justice a reality,” Biden declared, emphasizing that equal justice is a “foundational principle on which America was built.”
The first measure involves commuting sentences for 11 individuals serving extended terms for non-violent drug offenses. Among the notable cases receiving commutations are Darryl Allen Winkfield of Augusta, Ga., Leroy Lymons of Pensacola, Fla., and Earlie Deacon Barber of Dothan, Ala., each of whom was sentenced to life in prison.
Winkfield was convicted in 1998 of conspiracy to distribute and possess cocaine. Biden commuted the sentence, leaving intact a 10-year probation when Winkfield is released in April 2024.
In 2012, Lymons was sentenced to life for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine. The commutation clears Lymons for release after 27 years.