Today, August 30, 2016, President Obama granted commutation of sentences to 111 federal prisoners. One of those was Timothy L. Tyler whose application for commutation was submitted to the President by The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law's Innocence Project Clinic & Clemency Project. Professor J.P. "Sandy" Ogilvy contacted Tyler in the Federal Correctional Institution of Jesup, Georgia by phone to inform him of his commutation.
This is the third client of the Clinic to receive a commutation.
“I was honored on behalf of the students of the Clinic to be able to make the call to the federal prison in Georgia where Tyler is incarcerated to inform him of the President's action. Tyler is the third client of the Clinic to have received a commutation of sentence and this call was as thrilling for me as the first two,” Professor Ogilvy said.
Tyler was serving a life sentence and without a commutation from the President, he would have died in prison, where he has been since August 1992, entering at the age of 24. His co-defendants received 5 and 10-year sentences.
In September 2015, Business Insider ran a story about Tyler's case and interviewed Professor Ogilvy.
Tyler's petition for clemency argued that if he were charged today prosecutors probably wouldn't have used his prior convictions against him. They might not have charged him with a specific amount of drugs, either, Ogilvy told Business Insider.
His application for commutation was prepared and submitted in June 2015 by then Clinic students, Janette Richardson ’15 and Melissa Saldivar ’15
“Tyler is one of the thousands of young men and women serving draconian prison sentences as a result of mandatory sentencing laws,” Professor Ogilvy said.
“In this Year of Mercy, I am grateful that my students and I can play a small role to help bring justice to some of those men and women.”
Tyler (and several other clients, including Sherman Chester) were referred to the Clinic by FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Minimums).