University of St. Thomas School of Law professor Mark Osler poses for a studio portrait on December 6, 2012. Osler was photographed for graduate education promotional materials.

105 Inmates Freed Through Clemency Work by St. Thomas Professor, Clinic, Alumni

As the presidency of Barack Obama wrapped up last week, so too did the largest federal clemency initiative in United States history. But not before the sentences of 105 federal inmates were cut short thanks to the work of University of St. Thomas School of Law Professor Mark Osler and his former students.

This includes:

  • 9 direct clients of the Federal Commutations Clinic, including Ronald Blount, Charlie Lawuary and Weldon Angelos (who was freed through a court action before his clemency petition was decided)
  • 9 direct clients of Jamie Waldon ’15 in his capacity as a fellow with the Clemency Resource Center, which was co-founded by Osler and New York University law professor Rachel Barkow and is housed at NYU
  • 9 direct clients of Eric Hylok ’15 in his capacity as a fellow with the Clemency Resource Center
  • 78 additional clients of the Clemency Resource Center

“Under Mark Osler’s leadership, the students in our commutations clinic won clemency for nine prisoners (against only five denials). Further, the Clemency Resource Center – co-founded by Mark and staffed by two of our alumni who were trained in our clinic – won clemency for 96 prisoners, well over half of the petitions that the Center filed,” Dean Robert Vischer said. “Given an overall success rate of around 10 percent for these petitions, the fact that the majority of the petitions produced by our faculty, students and alumni were successful speaks well not only for our commitment to serving those on the margins, but for our commitment to excellence.”

The 13 current and former students whose clients were granted early release include: Marc Spooner ’12, Ashley Bennett ’13, Derek Hansen ’13, Allison Kadrmas ’14, Nicole Swisher ’14, Nicole Flaherty ’15, Eric Hylok ’15, Laura Reilly ’15, Brittany Sandager ’15, Jamie Waldon ’15, Matt Blubaugh ’16, Natasha VanLieshout ’16 and Patrick O’Neill ‘17.