Crime & Courts

Obama reduces prison sentences for 3 SC inmates


President Barack Obama granted commutations to three S.C. residents Friday, commuting their prison sentences for drug charges so that they now get out of jail on April 16.

Obama commuted the sentences of 95 prisoners nationwide and pardoned two more, part of an ongoing effort within the White House to rethink a criminal justice system that critics say has resulted in overly harsh and expensive sentences for thousands of drug offenders.

The commutations, the most Obama has issued at one time, mostly benefit nonviolent drug offenders – including several who were given life sentences for crack and cocaine crimes, and who already have spent more than 20 years behind bars.

The S.C. prisoners whose sentences were commuted are:

▪  Joe Nathan Darby of Salters, sentenced to 240 months in prison on charges of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine in 2006.

▪  Alphonso Davis of Ridgeway, charged with conspiracy to violate narcotic laws and sentenced to life in prison in 1996.

▪  Daron Benjamin Swygert of Gaston, charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine base. In 2001, he was sentenced to 240 months in prison.

The Associated Press contributed. Cassie Cope: 803-771-8657, @cassielcope