Judge takes early step in clemency program

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Associated Press

Posted on April 29, 2014 at 4:02 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 29 at 4:03 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge in Washington is giving an early push to the Obama administration's new program to encourage nonviolent federal prisoners to apply for early release.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman encouraged the court-appointed lawyers for defendant Byron Lamont McDade to pursue clemency for McDade — a prisoner the judge sentenced to 27 years in prison over a decade ago.

A week ago, the Justice Department unveiled a new clemency push directed at low-level felons imprisoned for at least 10 years who have clean records while in custody.

The effort is part of an administration effort to scale back the use of harsh penalties in some drug prosecutions and to address sentencing disparities arising from the 1980s crack cocaine epidemic

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