Inslee Commutes 13 Drug Possession Offenders, More to Follow
In the wake of the shocking WA State Supreme Court February 2021 ruling that drug possession statutes were un-Constitutional, Governor Inslee Tuesday commuted (or shortened) the sentences of 13 people serving time.
Commuting is a way of shortening or lessening sentences for a convict; pardoning does away with their jail time immediately. Inslee's actions formally did away with the possession portion of their time.
Because he commuted their sentences, it's presumed they are also serving time for other crimes. No specific details were given about who the 13 persons are, or what their scope of offenses were. The release did not say if any of the 13 would be released immediately due to this commuting of sentences.
There are surely going to be many more, as the State Supreme Court's ruling means retroactive actions will be coming for hundreds, if not thousands, of persons who have been convicted of drug possession.
Law enforcement agencies and victims rights groups are very worried that many of these criminals are not just doing time for possession, but many also committed violent offenses. Commuting their drug possession time will put them back out on the streets sooner.
Some counties have passed ordinances, such as Grant County, making possession at least a gross misdemeanor. This allows law enforcement agencies to arrest and hold these persons for anywhere from 24 to 72 hours; enabling them to uncover more evidence.
Often, possession is the key to opening the door for drug and crime operations; usually possession leads to usage. It also often leads to evidence of more criminal activity, even violence.
The information release from Inslee's office included this statement, which sheds light perhaps on where he stands on this hot button issue:
"While prosecutors and the courts have worked to vacate the convictions of individuals convicted and sentenced under this now-invalidated drug possession statute, the governor has endeavored to use his clemency authority to expeditiously facilitate a more immediate release for other individuals in custody solely on these convictions. "
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