Biden Pardons North Texas Man Convicted on Drug Charges

Jason Hernandez and Kamala Harris at the White House
Jason Hernandez and Kamala Harris at the White House | Image by Vice President Kamala Harris/Twitter

President Joe Biden has recently pardoned a North Texas man convicted on drug charges.

Biden granted clemency to 16 people previously convicted of non-violent drug offenses. Five had their sentences commuted, while 11 were pardoned, including two Texas men, one of whom is from McKinney.

Jason Hernandez, 47, had been convicted of several non-violent drug crimes, with some of the convictions stemming from when he was a juvenile, according to a press release from the White House.

According to his biography on a website that he runs, Get Clemency Now, Hernandez was sentenced to life without parole plus 320 years for a non-violent drug offense in 1998 when he was 21. While incarcerated, he became a jailhouse attorney and litigated on his own behalf and on behalf of others. In 2011, he created his own organization, Crack Open the Door, which advocates for crack cocaine offenders who are serving life without parole.

In 2013, former President Barack Obama granted Hernandez clemency. He was released in 2015 and has worked to assist others with obtaining clemency.

According to the White House, Hernandez was granted early termination of his supervised release in 2021 for “exceptional” post-release conduct.

“He now runs a nonprofit that transformed the store in front of which he used to sell drugs into a market that provides good quality and affordable food. The mayor of his hometown, other city officials, colleagues, and community members uniformly attest to the change in Mr. Hernandez’s character since his conviction, the significant contributions he’s made to his community, and his humble, giving nature,” reads the press release.

The other Texas recipient of a pardon from Biden was Glenn Ray Royal, 49, of San Antonio. Royal pled guilty to a non-violent drug offense committed when he was 20. He has since served his sentence and completed the terms of his supervised release. He has completed two degrees and “also serves as a mentor and coach for college students, assisting them with developing business plans, marketing plans, and websites. Friends and others attest to his trustworthiness and his dedication to his family and colleagues.”

Relatedly, officials in Dallas logged a 4.5% year-over-year increase in drug crimes in 2023 amid a longstanding officer shortage at the Dallas Police Department, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

A City analysis advised that a force of roughly 4,000 officers was necessary to adequately meet the needs of a city the size of Dallas. However, DPD only fields around 3,000. Budgeting only $654 million for DPD this year, the Dallas City Council opted to spend much less on public safety than other high-crime jurisdictions, like New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

Other persons pardoned by Biden include:

Beverly Holcy (aka Beverly Canty), 59 – Palatka, Florida

Bobby Darrell Lowery, 50 – Jackson, Mississippi

Jeffrey Alan Lewis, 58 – Douglasville, Georgia

Jesse Mosley, 42 – Ponchatoula, Louisiana

Katrina Polk, 54 – Washington, D.C.

Alexis Sutton, 33 – New Haven, Connecticut

Ricky Donnell Tyler, 54 – Columbia, South Carolina

Stacy Lynn Wilder, 49 – Albany, New York

Pilar Alejandra Yelicie-Rodriguez, 48 – Fairfax, Virginia

Biden also commuted the sentences of:

Daequon Charles Davis – Johnson City, Tennessee

Jophaney Hyppolite – Miami, Florida

Xavier Martez Parnell – Clarksville, Tennessee

Leshay Nicole Rhoton – Bristol, Tennessee

Margaret Ann Vandyke – Ellenville, New York

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