A very nice tory in the New York Times about a man whose sentence was commuted by President Obama.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Rudolph Norris walked out of Morgantown federal prison two weeks ago carrying a duffel bag like no other. First, he had spent six months hand-stitching it himself from dozens of mottled leather scraps, symbolizing the shards of his life he longed to piece back together. Then he unzipped it and pulled out his invitation to try.
“Dear Rudolph,” the letter began, “I wanted to personally inform you that I have granted your application for commutation.”
It was signed “Barack Obama.”
Mr. Norris’s 22 years behind bars over with the stroke of the president’s pen, he showed off the letter to his receiving crowd of siblings, in-laws and, mostly, his all-grown-up daughter, Rajean, who had wondered if she would ever again see her father out of an orange jumpsuit. (“That’s my daddy!” she said as he came into view, sounding like the 8-year-old she had been back when he was sentenced.) Mr. Norris hugged and cried and fist-bumped.
Then the former inmate, a newly minted symbol of second chances, rode the family’s rental van from West Virginia back to Maryland….
Walking toward his family in the parking lot, Mr. Norris wore heavy gray sweatpants and heavier gray whiskers, some pounds having migrated from his barrel chest to his belly, but still with the muscular shoulders of his distant youth. (His brother-in-law remarked, “Man, he looks good.”) Mr. Norris’s younger son, Raymond, who could not travel to the reunion from New Mexico, received Mr. Norris’s first phone call and a promise: “It’ll be my last game of basketball — I’m going to show you what Daddy’s got left and then retire.”
The five-hour ride home, during which he took 34 calls on six different family cellphones, included crucial stops for a Wendy’s chocolate Frosty and some outlet-mall sneakers. Having never used a cellphone, he officially entered the 21st century when spotty reception on Interstate 68 caused him to plead, “Can you hear me now?”
Family members fought over who would buy him a wallet, a watch and a jersey of his beloved Washington Redskins.
“Don’t buy anything for me — wait till I work, I’ll buy it for myself,” Mr. Norris pleaded. “I don’t want to be no burden. I been y’all’s burden for 25 years.”
Retrieved August 14, 2015 from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/15/us/with-clemency-from-obama-drug-offender-embraces-second-chance.html