A team of University of Utah law students, working with Professor Michael Teter, played a role in successfully lobbying to have President Obama commute the case of a Texas prison inmate.
Obama announced the commutation of Jose Jasso Jr. on Tuesday.
Teter has participated in the Clemency Project 2014’s effort to address injustice in the federal criminal sentencing system (more info here: www.clemencyproject2014.org). As part of Teter’s volunteer work, he represented three clients on behalf of whom he and University of Utah law students filed executive clemency requests. He received Jasso’s case back in October of last year.
Teter worked with several students on the cases, including law student Alex Stoedter, who and did the brunt of the work on putting together the facts and research to make the argument that Obama should commute Jasso’s case, Teter said.
“Basically, the law has changed so that Mr. Jasso, who was convicted of a minor drug-related offense, would not receive the same sentence (30 years) today that he received then,” said Teter.
The ruling comes at a historic time for commutations. Obama granted 111 clemency petitions on Aug. 30, which brought the number of commuted sentences by the president to 325 people in the month of August alone. That is the greatest number of commutations ever granted by a president in a single month.