President Obama has commuted the sentences of 46 nonviolent drug offenders, noting that the sentences for many far exceeded the severity of the offense.
A commutation is when a president reduces someone's prison sentence, it does not forgive the offense. By commuting only a few dozen sentences, President Obama already leads modern presidents in the use of this constitutional power, and he promises more to come.
President Obama wrote a personal letter written to each of the 46 individuals receiving a commutation. Tap the letter below to read an example.
This story has a link to Minnesota. One of the nation's leaders on this issue is Prof. Mark Osler at the University of St. Thomas School of Law. Professor Osler runs a commutations clinic, and supervises law students filing commutation petitions on behalf of clients.
Disclosure: Ted Haller is a St. Thomas Law graduate, a participant in Prof. Osler's clinic, and is representing a client in a pending case.