Obama commutes sentence extended 3.5 years by typo

President Obama on Tuesday commuted the prison term of a convicted drug trafficker who was mistakenly sentenced to an additional 3.5 years because of a typo.

In 2006, Ceasar Huerta Cantu pleaded guilty to charges related to marijuana trafficking and money laundering. Under the plea agreement, Cantu was supposed to receive 11.5 years in prison. But a typographical error in the sentencing report increased Cantu's sentence by an additional 42 months.

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"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 said.

The White House described the commutation as simply correcting the mistake of the sentencing report.

Cantu is just the 10th prisoner who has had his sentence commuted by Obama.

Last December, Obama freed eight federal prisoners who were convicted on federal crack cocaine charges, saying they were punished under old sentencing guidelines. Obama has signed a law reducing exaggerated penalties for crack versus powder cocaine use and urged additional legislation that further reduce drug sentencing disparities.

"In several cases, the sentencing judges expressed frustration that the law at the time did not allow them to issue punishments that more appropriately fit the crime," Obama said in a statement at the time.

The American Civil Liberties Union said, of those eight, three are scheduled to be released Thursday.

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