September 20, 2018
Sandy Ogilvy and Tim Tyler

On September 17, 2018, the Columbus School of Law had an unexpected visitor. It was Tim Tyler stopping by to thank in person Professor Sandy Ogilvy and the members of the Innocence Project Clinic and Clemency Project for the successful commutation of his sentence on August 30, 2016, by President Obama. Two years later, Tim was released from the half-way house he was staying at on August 30, 2018, and has begun his Thank You tour.

Tyler was sentenced in 1994 to life without parole for drug possession with intent to distribute. His petition for clemency was prepared by former Catholic University law students in 2014 and 2015.

“He was a peaceful young man who followed the Grateful Dead around the country,” alumna Janette Richardson told The Catholic University of America Magazine in 2016. “He’s a sweet individual who made some very poor choices, and had extenuating circumstances such as mental illness and past abuse by a family member. He deserves a second chance.”

"It was wonderful finally to meet Tim in person," said Professor Ogilvy. "I regret that Janette Richardson (’15) and Melissa Saldivar (’15), the two former students who were most responsible for working with Tim to put together his successful application for commutation of sentence, were unable to be here. However, Tim said that he will be back in DC in November and hopes to see Melissa then, and he is planning a trip to Florida, where his mother lives, and will arrange to visit Janette, who is working as a public defender in Pensacola, Florida. Melissa is an associate attorney at Berry Appleman & Leiden, LLP in Arlington, VA, where she focuses on employment-based immigration matters."

The Innocence Project Clinic and Clemency Project conducts investigations of claims of actual innocence on behalf of individuals referred to the Clinic by the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project and assists individuals convicted in Maryland with applications for parole or commutation of sentence.

Read the full story of the visit on the law school website

Read the alumni magazine story about the clinic