Ceasar Huerta Cantu was sentenced to 15 years in prison back in 2006 after he pleaded guilty to drug and money laundering charges. According to federal sentencing guidelines, Cantu's offenses were to be placed at a level 34. However, due to a typo, administrators put the level in at 36. The Washington Post explained today that the error caused the judge to use a different set of guidelines that were stricter. As a result, 42 months were added to Cantu's prison sentence.
During sentencing, Ceasar Huerta Cantu and his attorney didn't notice the error had been made and the mistake was not reported in time for a judicial correction. As a result, the only way to fix it was through executive clemency. "A judge ruled that Mr. Cantu did not discover this error in time to correct it through any judicial means; as a result, it can now only be rectified through clemency," a White House official stated.
On Tuesday, President Obama took action and shortened Cantu's prison sentence from 180 months to 138 months. The decision meant that Cantu had already served all of his prison time. The Associated Press gave more details and an excerpt from their report reads..."The White House said Obama decided to grant clemency because it was the only way to correct the mistake."
During a conference regarding the matter, Jay Carney, White House Press Secretary, gave the following statement: "Given the circumstances of this case and the manifest injustice of keeping a person in federal prison for an extra three and a half years because of a typographical mistake, the president wanted to act as quickly as possible.This is a matter of basic fairness and it reflects the important role of clemency as a fail-safe in our judicial system."
Business Insider reports that President Obama has issued 52 presidential pardons, and the case of Ceasar Huerta Cantu will make the 10th sentencing commutation he has performed while in office.