This is a blog about right and wrong, tragedy and triumph, and unjust jail terms presented on the heels of President Obama’s recent pardon of 214 non-violent federal criminals. Here’s the tragedy. At the age of 11 in Montrose, GA Demaryius Thomas and his two sisters were about to leave for school when both his mother and grandmother were arrested for “federal charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine and cocaine base,” according to Amy Ralston Povah with Can-Do News, Justice through Clemency. That was in the year 2000.
His mother, Katina was sentenced, and for not testifying against her Mother, received 24 years- the maximum. Minnie Pearl Thomas, (the grandmother) was given a life sentence, because of two prior convictions for selling drugs. That’s not only wrong, but unbelievable!
Unfortunately, these arrests occurred during a time when “the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 implemented the initial disparity, reflecting Congress’s view that crack cocaine was a more dangerous and harmful drug than powder cocaine,” hence the unjust and unfair sentences. Now, that’s wrong!
Now, this is sad. It was reported Katina Smith asked the arresting officers if she could say good-bye to Demaryius, assuring him she would see him later. Later did occur – in 15 years, only because her sentence was commuted in 2015 by President Obama. A wrong was righted.
Now, here’s the triumph. Demaryius Thomas went to live with his Aunt and Uncle. His Uncle was a preacher who enrolled Demaryius in sports. Lucky break! Today, he is the wide receiver for the Denver Broncos at age 26.
After the Super Bowl 50 win, the Broncos were invited to the White House and “Demaryius thanked Obama for pardoning (his mother) Smith,” according to Griffin Adams. And be it no coincidence, on August 3, 2016, his grandmother’s severe sentence was commuted by President Obama, too! Touchdown – for sure!
Around the mid-1990s, the Fair Sentencing Act was initiated because of the ‘disparity’ proclaimed in the 1986 Anti-Drug bill that seemed to be racially weighted against minorities, who were purported higher users of crack cocaine. The new bill aimed at taking a 100:1 sentencing ratio to a fairer 1:1 ratio. Some want the law to be retroactive, whereby eliminating this disparity quotient completely.
By Sharla Esparza