Hoosiers among 102 drug offenders Obama grants clemency

October 12, 2016

Three Indiana men are among 102 drug offenders whose lengthy federal prison sentences were reduced last week by President Barack Obama.

Many of the sentence commutations were recommended by the national Clemency Project, which has advocated for sentencing reductions for thousands of nonviolent offenders who would have received shorter sentences under current federal sentencing guidelines.

Hoosiers granted clemency Oct. 6 were all convicted in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. They are:

  • Willi J. Hill of Indianapolis. Hill was sentenced in 1995 to 500 months in prison, five years of supervised release and a $25,000 fine for his conviction of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and cocaine base; and possession with intent to distribute cocaine base. The commutation grant reduces his sentence to 360 months in prison.
  • Kamal Sims of Evansville. Sims was sentenced in 2008 to 240 months in prison and 10 years of supervised released for his conviction of conspiracy to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base (mixture). His prison sentence is commuted to expire on October 6, 2018, conditioned upon enrollment in residential drug treatment.
  • Charles M. Woolsey of West Baden Springs. Woolsey was sentenced in 2006 to 300 months in prison, which the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals amended to life in prison in 2008, for conviction of possession of 500 grams or more of methamphetamine (mixture); possession with intent to distribute cocaine; possession of marijuana; possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking; and prohibited person in possession of a firearm. He also was sentenced to 10 years of supervised release. His commutation grant restores the 300-month sentence.

Indianapolis law firm Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP of counsel attorney Russell Menyhart provided pro bono legal service to Woolsey, whose sentence had been increased by the 7th Circuit in part due to a 30-year-old marijuana conviction that could have been expunged.

In a statement released by Taft on Wednesday, the law firm said Obama’s approval of Woolsey’s clemency petition means Woolsey, 65, has renewed hope of eventually being released to rejoin his family. Obama has now granted clemency to 774 federal inmates serving long sentences for nonviolent drug offenses.


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