University of Richmond School of Law Clinic wins clemency for man facing life in prison

January 23, 2017

A non-violent drug offender sentenced to life in prison received clemency in large part due to the University of Richmond School of Law’s Institute for Actual Innocence.

Dujuan Farrow was among 231 people granted clemency by President Obama Jan. 17.

Law school professor Mary Kelly Tate, director of the clinic, and her students have been working on Farrow’s case since 2014, spending hundreds of hours researching the facts and mastering the details of federal sentencing law.

“Under today’s sentencing guidelines, Mr. Farrow would have received nothing close to life in prison,” explained Tate. “I am elated that President Obama has chosen to right this unjustly harsh sentence.”

The details of Farrow’s case were compelling to Tate and the law students working with the Institute. Farrow was a non-violent drug offender who was a passenger in a drug dealer's car the night of a federal sting operation. Although he was acquitted of actually possessing drugs, he received a life sentence after choosing to seek a jury trial. 

“Our UR law students demonstrated a level of commitment and professionalism with this case over many months, which, if absent, would have likely meant we would not have succeeded in our goal," Tate added.

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