Reduced-time orders begin for cocaine convictions

By Patsy R. Brumfield | NEMS Daily Journal

Kevin Dion Wiley from Benton County is one of eight federal prisoners this week ordered released for “time served” in the wake of reduced sentences on old crack cocaine convictions.
Wiley, 47, was due for release Oct. 25, 2013, but new sentence guidelines affecting his 1994 conviction calculated his time for what he’s spent at the Forrest City, Ark., prison.
Nov. 1 was the first day inmates locked up under the old crack cocaine sentence guides could get out early.
The decision came from Congress for future convictions, but the U.S. Sentencing Commission agreed to make the rules retroactive.
The U.S. Bureau of Prisons website shows none has been released yet.
Gregory S. Park, a federal public defender in Oxford, said last week that his office was busy sifting through lists of possibly eligible inmates to determine who qualified for immediate release.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office also confirmed its efforts to assist Park and the U.S. Probation Service.
Still, the actual release orders are up to the individual federal judges.
As of late Monday, nine other prisoners’ sentenced were reduced although not enough for them to be released immediately.
Brad Smith, 44, was slated to wrap up his 121-month sentence March 9, 2012.
Senior U.S. District Judge Glen Davidson reassessed his sentence and knocked off only one month because Smith must serve a mandatory minimum time.
In another case, Derron Hoskins, 37, was due for release Aug. 28, 2013, from a 2002 conviction. Although his term was cut nearly in half by the new guidelines, he still must serve out a 60-month consecutive sentence.
Three of the inmates whom Northern Mississippi judges ordered released for time served were due for release in the next week anyway, and two others were due out in early 2012.
Three others faced another year or two in prison.
Last week, Park said his office will continue to determine who else is eligible for early release and inform the inmates affected by the change.
Authorities say as many as 12,000 people are eligible to ask for reduced prison time.
patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com