The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) just posted an emotional photo of two sisters reuniting on the “outside” after more than 17 years, after one had her life sentence in prison commuted by President Obama.
Stephanie George was one of eight crack offenders who got a commutation because she was sentenced under drug laws that unfairly punished crack offenders more harshly than cocaine offenders.
In 1996, police officers found cocaine and cooking utensils to make crack in Stephanie George’s home, according to the ACLU’s description of the case. The father of one of George’s children, Michael Dickey, confessed they were his, and George denied knowing the drugs and paraphernalia were stored in her home.
But a cooperating witness testified that George was paid to store the drugs, was present at other drug transactions, and made deliveries for her drug-dealing boyfriends. George was convicted of conspiracy to possess crack cocaine and intent to distribute, as well as obstruction of justice for testifying she wasn’t involved in Dickey’s activities.
Because she was convicted of minor drug offenses in 1993, the judge was required to sentence George to a sentence of life-without-parole, even though he stated his opposition to such a harsh sentence, according to the ACLU. He described George’s minimal role in the crime as “a girlfriend and bag holder and money holder. So certainly, in my judgment, it doesn’t warrant a life sentence.”
In 2013, President Obama commuted George’s sentence in a demonstration of his opposition to mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug crimes. At the time of George’s incarceration, her three children were between the ages of 4 and 8 years old.
While she was in prison, George’s sister Wendy raised her sister’s children. “Since she’s been gone, a part of me has been missing,” Wendy wrote in an April 16 essay published on the ACLU website. “A part of me has been locked up for years.”
During her time in prison, George’s father died and her son William was murdered in October 2013.
“She has been away from me for too long and I need her more now than ever,” William told the ACLU shortly before he was killed by gunfire.
“She has a lot to come home to that she’s lost, but we’re going to make some happy times,” her sister, Wendy said. “I’ve lost 17 or 18 years together with her, but we’re still young and can enjoy the rest of our lives together.”
Wendy added, “All I can say is if you have a sister, hold on to her.”
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