You can be just or you can be merciful but it’s damned hard to be both simultaneously. Barack Obama may have pulled off that difficult trick when he recently commuted the sentences of eight people serving extended time for crack cocaine violations.
Perhaps moved by the holiday spirit, the president exercised his constitutional authority to “grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States” and released the federally imprisoned octet in time for its members to be home for Christmas.
UPDATED 4:10 Dec. 15, 2010 with comments from Richard Callahan and sentencing:
In court on Wednesday, prosecutors revealed that Shade stopped cooperating last January. They found out about it as they were preparing to take Gregory P. Shepard, the manager at St. Louis Metropolitan Towing, to trial. It was Shade's testimony that helped indict and convict Shepard.