President Obama commutes Lansing woman’s prison sentence

In this photo taken De. 18, 2015, President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the briefing room at the White House in Washington. On Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, the president signed emergency declaration and ordered federal aid for Flint, Mich., authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Homeland Security Department to coordinate relief efforts. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(WLNS) – President Barack Obama has commuted the prison sentence of a Lansing woman who has been behind bars on a drug conviction since 2008.

Cynthia Shank was sentenced to 15 years in prison, five years probation and a $10,000 fine in February 2008.

Shank was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute more than five kilograms of powder cocaine, 50 grams of cocaine base, and/or 1,000 kilograms of marijuana; possession with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine; possession with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of cocaine base (crack cocaine); possession with intent to distribute 40 pounds of marijuana.

According to her defense attorney, Mike Nichols, Shank was abused by her drug trafficking boyfriend and was arrested as part of a larger group of people when the drug ring was busted.

Nichols said the government’s case was based on testimony from police and snitches and Shank claimed she acting under duress when she was arrested.

Her sentence will now be commuted to expire on March 22, 2017 and the balance of the $10,000 fine remitted.

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