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Obama commutes sentences for Rock Island man, 110 others

President Barack Obama (CNN)

President Barack Obama (CNN)

CHICAGO (AP) — President Barack Obama has cut short the sentences 111 federal inmates, including eight Illinoisans, in his latest round of commutations for those convicted of nonviolent drug offenses.

The White House says those from Illinois include Rudy Martinez of Chicago. He was sentenced to life in 1992 for conspiracy and drug distribution, among other charges. He’s now expected to be released in December.

Among those commuted was Theodore Johnson from Rock Island, who was given a 30 year prison sentence in 2000 for conspiracy to distribute cocaine base. Johnson will be released December 28, 2016 with his unpaid balance of $5,000 fine remitted.

The White House says Obama has commuted 673 prison sentences, more commutations than the previous 10 presidents combined. More than a third of those whose sentences were shortened were serving life.

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