- Associated Press - Friday, June 3, 2016

DETROIT (AP) - A Detroit-area man who says he’s learned to be an electrician while in prison for a drug crime will be released years ahead of schedule after President Barack Obama reduced his sentence Friday.

Records show Kareem Martin has been in prison since 2007 and wasn’t eligible for release until 2027. But with a stroke of a pen, Obama said Martin will be free in June 2018.

Martin, who lived in River Rouge at the time of his arrest, was one of 42 prisoners to be granted rare commutations by the president. It’s not known why the White House selected Martin or the other prisoners, although he’s been seeking a shorter sentence for years in Detroit’s federal court.

His latest effort was rejected on May 13 by U.S. District Judge Sean Cox.

Martin, now 43, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to deliver cocaine in 2006. His sentencing guidelines were significantly enhanced by past convictions. U.S. District Judge Lawrence Zatkoff noted a “long history of criminal conduct” and said a “significant sentence” was appropriate.

Martin, who’s at a federal prison in Lexington, Kentucky, wrote to Zatkoff in 2014, seeking support for his commutation petition.

“I am a changed man. I am no longer the ‘child’ that stood before you on the day of sentencing,” Martin said, adding that he had completed an electrical apprenticeship program while in prison.


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