On August 3, 2016, President Obama commuted the sentences of 214 federal inmates as part of an ongoing effort to release federal inmates serving prison terms deemed to be unduly harsh. S.J. Quinney College of Law Professor Paul Cassell, who sentenced some the convicted to mandatory life terms while serving as a U.S. District Judge, discussed the cases with The Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News.
“To be sure, repeat drug offenses involving methamphetamine deserve tough punishment,” Cassell said. “But a mandatory life sentence was not the right sentence for that crime, and would have cost the taxpayers an extraordinary amount of money if Mr. Alvarado had been incarcerated in federal prison until he died.”