Woman Granted Clemency By Barack Obama, Now Back in Federal Prison

Carol Denise Richardson, 49

*You may recall one of the things former president, Barack Obama, did before he left office, was grant clemency to more than 1700 inmates who held life sentences but for non-violent drug offences. Carol Denise Richardson was one of the lucky inmates that got a second chance at life.

Richardson had been convicted by a federal jury in June 2006 for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of crack cocaine and two counts of possession with intent to distribute the drug.

With an extensive rap sheet already, U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison sentenced her to life in prison. President Obama had her released on July 28, 2016; but with the condition she remain under supervision for the next 10 years.

On April 13, she decided to throw caution to the wind. Her second chance at freedom blew away with it.

Richardson was arrested in Pasadena, California in April for stealing $60 worth of laundry detergent. Officials are convinced that the former prisoner intended to sell the detergent and purchase drugs with the money.

Richardson’s attorney, Mark Anthony Diaz, says his client has relapsed into her crack cocaine addiction; which was the root cause of her imprisonment the first time. He questioned Judge Ellison as to why rehabilitation had not part of her prison sentence before and was told it was because the Bureau of Prisons doesn’t offer the option for prisoners with life sentences.

Carol Richardson after she was granted clemency by Barack Obama in March 2016.

In a statement released by the U. S. Attorney’s office, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ted Imperato said, “This defendant was literally given a second chance to become a productive member of society and has wasted it.  She has clearly shown a willful disregard for the law and must face the consequences for her crimes and actions.”  

 Diaz says Richardson had strong family support when she was released from prison with clemency, but after she relapsed into drugs, she stopped contacting her family. According to authorities, stolen laundry detergent wasn’t Richardson’s only violation of the terms of her release. She is said to have also been terminated from a job for not showing up; and changed her address without letting anyone know.

In her newest sentence she will be in jail for 14 months and 5 years supervision thereafter. This time, says Diaz, he will ask that rehab be a part of her sentence. The attorney, who was brought on after Richardson’s recent arrest, said she cried throughout the entire hearing.

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