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Obama lightens drug sentence

Cousin of Mass. gov. among 8 getting commutations

Published: Friday, Dec. 20, 2013 11:21 p.m. CDT

BOSTON (AP) – A first cousin of Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is among eight people whose drug sentences have been commuted by President Barack Obama.

Reynolds Wintersmith Jr., of Rockford, Ill., was a teenager when he was sentenced in 1994 to life in prison for selling crack cocaine.

Obama commuted Wintersmith’s sentence Thursday, along with seven others the president said were serving unduly harsh sentences under old federal guidelines. The guidelines treated crack cocaine offenses differently than the powder form of the drug.

Patrick told WGBH-FM radio Friday that he has “no memory of ever having met” Wintersmith, was not involved in seeking the commutation, and was not alerted by the White House before the commutation was announced.

The Democratic governor is a friend and strong supporter of the president.

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