Commutation in drug case could offer hope to inmates

Ponca City Now - May 9, 2016 9:14 am

TULSA, Okla. (AP) – Oklahoma reform groups say Gov. Mary Fallin’s recent decision to commute the sentence of an inmate serving life without parole for drug trafficking could lead to a re-evaluation of dozens of similar cases.

Fallin granted the commutation for 66-year-old Larry Yarbrough earlier this year, converting his sentence to life with the possibility of parole. Yarbrough’s parole request will be considered later this month.

Oklahoma is among many states that have passed sentencing reform laws giving courts more discretion in how nonviolent offenders are punished.

Reform groups say Yarbrough’s commutation could improve the chances for dozens of other inmates serving life without parole for nonviolent drug offenses who apply for similar relief.

Prosecutors oppose paroling Yarbrough, saying he had five prior drug convictions.

 

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