Speed Reads

Crime and punishment

Obama shaved 3.5 years off a drug dealer's prison sentence to fix a typo

Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

Cesar Cantu was serving 15 years in prison for money laundering and drug trafficking even though, based solely on his offenses and lack of criminal history, he shouldn't have been put away for nearly that long.

The reason: As the Associated Press notes, a typo in Cantu's pre-sentencing report incorrectly overstated his "base offense level," triggering the lengthier punishment. Cantu didn't catch the error until a couple of years ago, but a judge refused his request to reduce the sentence, saying too much time had passed.

It all worked out in the end though, as President Obama on Tuesday commuted Cantu's sentence from 15 years to 11-12 years. That said, the court that originally convicted Cantu may still want to consider hiring a proofreader lest the same problem happen again.