NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - President Barack Obama on Tuesday commuted the sentence for one of the leaders of a notorious New Orleans drug gang known for trafficking cocaine and other crimes.
In December of 1993, Danielle Bernard Metz, married to gang co-leader Glenn Metz, was sentenced to life in prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribute cocaine; continuing criminal enterprise; possession with intent to distribute cocaine hydrochloride; and laundering of monetary instruments.
Metz's sentence will now expire on Dec. 28 of this year.
The commutation was just one of many. According to The White House's Facebook page, "[The president] granted clemency to 111 men and women serving years in prison under outdated and unduly harsh sentencing laws. He's now commuted the sentences of 673 men and women—more people than the last ten presidents combined."
A federal judge sentenced the Metzes and three of their lieutenants to life in prison for crimes ranging from selling drugs to murder. In an April 2015 letter written in support of Danielle Metz's clemency request, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite noted circumstances that led him to support her request, including her age at the time of her arrest (25), the influence of her older husband and her status as a first-time offender.
Prosecutors in the Metz trial said the gang members were among the most violent in the New Orleans area, and ran a multi-million dollar cocaine ring in the city's housing projects.
U.S. presidents have wielded the power to issue pardons since it was granted to them in 1789 by Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution.