Business Insider: Mandy Martinson’s Mandatory Sentence

Post Date: September 16, 2013

(Business Insider – quotes Molly Gill) — Reporter Erin Fuchs writes about the sad and compelling story of Mandy Martinson, a first time offender who is serving 15 years in federal prison for a nonviolent drug offense. Writes Fuchs:

Mandy Martinson had never been convicted of a crime before cops raided her Iowa home back in 2004.  Martinson was a meth addict who helped her then-boyfriend count cash for his drug conspiracy. By the time her case went to trial, she’d gotten off the drug and taken major steps to get her life back together.  But Iowa federal judge James Gritzner sentenced Martinson to 15 years in prison anyway after her ex testified against her.

Judge Gritzner couldn’t show her mercy because of the 1980s-era mandatory minimum sentences for many drug crimes. She was 28 at sentencing and will be at least 40 when she gets out. Martinson says the possibility of not having kids is the worst part of her sentence, she told Molly Gill, government affairs counsel at Families Against Mandatory Minimums.  Read article

11 Responses to “Business Insider: Mandy Martinson’s Mandatory Sentence”

  1. Josaine Morrison -Edwards

    I am the mother of his only son Jaden age 6. His name is Lancelot Lewis, jail# 96383-004, PO box 5000 (v1), ferderal correctonal complex, oakdale, LA 71463. .Lancelot was inrcerated after jadens 4th birthday. He has 4 other kids all girls, the youngest is 4. he didn’t harm anyone, no life was taken…. he knows he has to do time but, if this can be reconsidered and reduced to a lesser time in order for him to be with his kids back home or for him to be in reachable range for them.

    • Katherine

      I think it’s wrong for them to give people a long sentence for prison for drugs and let people who kill someone 7 to 8 years in prison and they took a life or older man raping a child 30days but some wjo sold drugs wanted to give them 15 or life something wrong with that picture yes you should be punish,but not like that make them do community service something like that we have school out here that need help instead of putting people in prison for they whole life using our taxes dollars to keep them their let them go and do community service so that the schools can have that taxes money.I’m very sorry that they put you in prison for 15 years my man has been in prison for 18 years and they wanted to give him life on old charges which was throw out of court so thats some mess,but you hold on because God is going to change that around he already working on it I believe that for a fact.

  2. Josaine Morrison -Edwards

    Lancelot Lewis is from Jamaica, all he ever tried to do is to take care of his kids and sickly mom in Jamaica. His mom has a heart condition, we can’t even let her know what’s going on with Lancelot. Please… please do what you can and we all hope that this works out with extensive sentances….I heard Lancelot as given 10 years.

    jJosaine Morrison-Edwards

  3. Josaine Morrison -Edwards

    I apologize for my bad manners.. Good day to you Sir/Madam…. I should’ve begun my email/comment, forgive me please!

  4. Paula

    My daughter just took a plea for 8 years on a non-violent meth charge. Not one time did anyone ever suggest rehab, family involvement, or anything other than prison. Alone with a court appointed attorney that specialized in traffic cases, she was scared into accepting the plea as she was told she would get 15 to 30 if she went to trial these words from the prosecutor. She leaves behind three children, two of which have been placed with the boyfriends enabling family by DCF and the Judge. I’ve written a handful of letters to everyone as before the arrest came down I tried to get help from DCF, Probation, and the boyfriends family. No one listens, all anyone cares about is money. Do they realize that there will be the next generation in the same situation due to the issues the children will have growing up in the same area full of drugs with an enabling Grandmother and serious mental issues over the loss of their Mother? Shame on you DCF, Shame on you Florida Probation, Shame on you Judge, Shame on you Prosecutor! YOU HAVE ALL FAILED THESE HELPLESS CHILDREN by not seeking a more appropriate way to deal with this type of crime!!!!!!

    • lydia

      may GOD bless u and give u the strength to deal with all this,we just adopted 5 grandkids ,all their parents had drug issues,the drugs r in the streets,but the solutions r not being resolved , if there were as many beds 4 drug treatments as their r 4 covicted drug users/dealers,people could get manditory drug help n maybe they could return to care 4 their childen,i see better results in treatment even if its manditory ,maybe 1 sober day could change a mommie or daddies life,than to lock them up till their so old that their is no hope!my brother is serving 17 years on a drug charge with no violence, im the only family member that has stuck by him our mom died my dad is elderly,the rest of the family is to busy,may prayers r with u and the children may GOD here our prayer, AND THANK GOD FOR FAMM!

  5. robert

    What about offenses that are not drug related my daughter hired a girl to work for her in tax business the did identity theft my daughter could prove she didn’t know. About it was charged with conspiracy how can u prove u didn’t. Know? Must spend. 3.5 yrs away from kids no trouble before made no money non violent they nothing only an. Accusation. Not good

    • michelle

      our prayers are with you, we pray that all the laws change ,that all cases are reviewed as these judges were sentencing their own children (appropriately to fit each crime)our justice system locks up all these people and go home to their families, not realizing that times have changed and the day their family members that make a mistake and get locked up for even one year,thats one year to many!this locking people up for years n years is insane,what they dont realize is that the day some prisoners get out and they are not able to work and have earned no retirement all the politicians and their laws are long gone into their retiremnt ,who will take care of these poor elderly excons?NOONE they will have to live homeless on the streets!AND these young parents who are given these ridiculous sentences will come home to no jobs ,their kids being raised by taxpayers and childern who dont get along with their parents and throw it in the parents face “YOU WERENT HERE FOR US” and loose respect forrtheir parents! change the laws turn prisons into rehabbs and treatment centers ,something that moms can take kids with a school,put your brains to work politicians put money into rehabb,not into overcrowed prisons we cant afford!

  6. jim

    The prison system is based on punishment rather than rehabilitation. Many people in prison are under educated. Society would gain a lot if prisoners were educated. They would be able to make a decent living when they got out.Many people return to prison because they have to make a living on the street, selling drugs,etc.
    If the prison system was based on rehabilitation and education instead of just punishment the recidivism rate would drop dramatically
    Taxpayers would save millions of dollars every year by not having to pay to house prisoners. Also, if they were educated and able to get a job, they would become taxpayers, saving society even more money.
    Minimum sentencing laws almost guarantee many people will return to prison because they have spent so much time in prison that they don’t feel comfortable on the outside. Especially when they receive no reorientation.
    Remember Dan White? He murdered the mayor of San Francisco, George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey ilk. For this double murder he was sentenced to a mere 3 years in prison. Time after time murderers get shorter sentences than people involved in non-violent crimes. The reason for this is that the state considers murderers able to be rehabilitated, but not drug users
    The system needs to be turned on it’s head.

  7. Becky

    Our family is dealing with the child pornography Congressional Mandates. We deplore the issue of child porn. We expected prison time, but the US Attorney was threatening 100 years in the penitentiary, but she would go down to 20 years if he plead guilty to transportation of child porn. He ‘s an immature 20 year old sitting in his room- he never sent it to anyone. Never in trouble before. Totally honest about everything. Never touched a kid. Never would have. I have found a support group – There are a lot of other people this has happened to. So, if you know of anyone dealing with child porn and ridiculous sentences, please contact. And for everyone out there- the news and politicians are scaring people with the sex offender registry – the research is coming in- the registry is getting filled up with people who are not dangerous. And when the honest politicians try to point it out- they get targeted as “soft on crime, endangering our children”. So the registry makes our kids less safe…too many harmless people are on it, so cops don’t have time to monitor the dangerous ones. PLUS- most sex crimes are from first time offenders, not the ones on the list. That I hat I have found in researching it. And don’t forget, almost all sex crimes are no strangers. Family, friends, coaches, etc

    • Meri


      I am sorry to hear about what your family is going through. I do agree that federal sentences for first-time offenders who have committed crimes against children are often too harsh and do not properly reflect the goals of sentencing.

      However, as somebody with a personal perspective stemming from experience with the opposite side of this issue (i.e., victim, not offender), please remember this — child pornography is NOT a victimless crime. Receipt, possession, and distribution ALL facilitate more production… and so many children are damaged in so many ways. The people who actually produce it are, indeed, more culpable than those who only possess or receive it. But that market is fueled by demand.

      I know it is difficult to cope with this type of prosecution. It is even more difficult when sentences seem extreme. But please remember the victims — the most vulnerable members of our society who have to live with not only emotional damage, but also with physical, accessible reminders of abuse, through images and videos that are distributed and received through the internet by thousands of people. The victims are subjected to a lifetime sentence. When defendants and advocates complain about 5 years, I only wish they could understand how happy a victim would be with 5.

      Bottom line — I agree with you that in many cases, sentencing is completely out of control. It needs revision — in all crime categories. When it comes to child pornography, it’s easy to say that it’s “victimless” or that the person who received/possessed it is “harmless,” and use that to argue for lighter sentencing. However, there are more effective, and less offensive, ways to make arguments for better sentencing without minimizing the impact of all CP crimes.


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