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Across the Nation: Obama commutes sentences of 111 federal inmates

Obama commutes sentences of 111 federal inmates

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama cut short on Tuesday the sentences of 111 federal inmates in another round of commutations for those convicted of nonviolent drug offenses.

Obama has long called for phasing out strict sentences for drug convictions, arguing they lead to excessive punishment and incarceration rates unseen in other developed countries.

White House Counsel Neil Eggleston said the commutations underscored the president’s commitment to using his clemency authority to give deserving individuals a second chance. He said that Obama has granted a total of 673 commutations, more than the previous 10 presidents combined. More than a third of the recipients were serving life sentences.

“We must remember that these are individuals — sons, daughters, parents, and in many cases, grandparents — who have taken steps toward rehabilitation and who have earned their second chance,” Eggleston said. “They are individuals who received unduly harsh sentences under outdated laws for committing largely nonviolent drug crimes.”

Eggleston noted that Obama also granted commutation to 214 federal inmates earlier in the month. With Tuesday’s additions, Obama has granted the greatest number of commutations for a single month of any president.

Eggleston says he expects Obama to continue using his clemency authority through the end of his administration. He said the relief points to the need for Congress to take up criminal justice reform. Such legislation has stalled, undercut by a rash of summer shootings involving police and the pressure of election-year politics.


 Late appeal moves NFL concussion case to Supreme Court

PHILADELPHIA — A last-minute appeal in the NFL concussion case sends the proposed settlement to the U.S. Supreme Court and delays payouts for at least several months.

The family of the late Buffalo Bills fullback Carlton “Cookie” Gilchrist wants the high court to revisit the debate over the brain injury known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

The appeal filed Monday by son Scott Gilchrist calls it “irrational” that a federal judge in Philadelphia excluded future payouts for CTE from the potential $1 billion settlement, though the science continues to develop.

Other plaintiffs have gotten extra time to appeal.

The lead negotiators complain their injured clients need help now. The settlement covers more than 21,000 NFL retirees and awards several million dollars for some with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders.


Lawyer charged with sexual assault, coercion of minor

SHELTON, Conn. — A Connecticut attorney is facing charges after police say he took nude photographs of a minor and sexually assaulted him for years.

Peter Kruzynski, of Shelton, was arraigned Wednesday in Derby Superior Court. He’s charged with first-degree sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault, fourth-degree sexual assault, coercion and related crimes.

Police arrested the 49-year-old Kruzynski on Tuesday after a juvenile reported that Kruzynski took nude photographs of him when he was 12. The juvenile told police Kruzynski threatened to post the photos online if the boy didn’t continue having sex with him. The juvenile says Kruzynski used his status as an attorney to coerce him into having sex.

Kruzynski, who is free on a $75,000 bond, could not be reached for comment.

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