Federal sentencing overhaul leads to Matthew Charles' release

Posted at 3:42 PM, Jan 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-03 17:16:31-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee man will be one of the first prisoners to be released under a criminal justice reform law recently signed by President Donald Trump.

Matthew Charles had received national attention after being re-sentenced and ordered back to prison in 2016, two years after a judge ruled his sentence was unfair. However, U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger on Thursday reduced Charles' sentence to time served.

Trauger specifically cited the First Step Act as the reason the 52-year-old Charles was entitled to immediate release.

Trump signed the law Dec. 21. It aims to reduce recidivism among federal prisoners. It also reduces guidelines for crack offenses and made those changes retroactive.

Charles was sentenced to 35 years in prison for selling crack cocaine in 1996. He is currently incarcerated at a Kentucky prison.