Presidential commutation will bring a Cincinnati father home for Christmas

Posted at 1:05 AM, Dec 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-22 09:03:47-05

CINCINNATI -- To the guards at Michigan State Prison, Fabian Roberson is inmate 04555-061. He was sentenced to 15 years under lock and key in 2008, when he was convicted of selling cocaine and carrying illegal weapons, and has remained in Michigan ever since.

To recent high school graduate Dylann Robinson, he’s ‘Dad.'

And, thanks to President Barack Obama’s decision to commute and pardon a record-breaking total of 231 prisoners in one day -- more than any president since Truman pardoned over 1,500 draft dodgers Dec. 23, 1947 -- Robinson may soon see his father home for Christmas.

According to the White House Office of the Press Secretary, Roberson’s 15-year sentence will be commuted to 10 years provided he enrolls in residential drug treatment. His sentence is now set to expire Dec. 19, 2018 -- in time for him to join Dylann and his siblings for Christmas in just two years.

Dylann Robinson’s excitement was off the charts when he heard the news.

"I was like, ‘It’s about time!’"

Former Hamilton County judge Norbert Nadel did not share the family’s enthusiasm.

"I know it’s Christmastime, but I don’t think the president should be playing Santa Claus," Nadel said. "There is such a thing as punishment for what you’ve done, and many of these people are drug dealers and they’re hurting other people’s lives."

According to Robinson, he and his father email frequently, and the pair have had face-to-face visits in Michigan. Roberson has told him many times, Robinson said, that his path isn’t one he wants for his son.