Federal Public Defender Jeff Lazarus enjoys connecting with clients to find the best way to help them.

His only aversion to the job, said Lazarus, who specializes in indigent criminal defense, is “the number of cases that I have makes it difficult to give 100% effort on every case.”

Asked his favorite case to date, Lazarus referenced the Clemency Project, a program former President Barack Obama initiated in 2014.

Noting the Clemency Project allowed federal inmates serving lengthy prison sentences to apply to have their sentences reduced, Lazarus said he was able to receive presidential commutation for four clients.

“Two of which were serving life sentences and had been in prison for over 20 years,” said Lazarus, a member of B’nai Jeshurun Congregation in Pepper Pike.

The attorney was also able to recruit local firms, advising them on how to handle clemency petitions for inmates the Office of the Federal Public Defender did not have the resources to handle.

“Through this collaboration,” Lazarus said, “we were able to receive presidential commutation for another 17 inmates.”

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