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Obama commutes sentence made longer by typo

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is commuting the sentence of an inmate who got a longer prison sentence because of a typo.

Ceasar Cantu of Katy, Texas is serving 15 years for trafficking marijuana and money laundering. But the judge based the sentencing on a mistake in his pre-sentencing report that resulted in 3 1/2 years’ extra time. The typo occurred in the “offense level” — a numerical rating based on the severity of the crime and the defendant’s sentence, among other factors. The pre-sentence report specified “36,” when it should have been “34.”

Cantu pleaded guilty in 2006 in federal court in Danville, Va.

A judge ruled that because Cantu’s lawyer didn’t object at sentencing, the court couldn’t change it. The White House says it could only be rectified by the president. Cantu will now serve 11 1/2 years.

Obama commuted only one sentence in his first term but has been using the power more in his second.

NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press