The Federal Sentencing Hearing and What’s Next!

Post Date: September 19, 2013

FAMM members stand at hearing

FAMM members stand at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Sept. 18.

Yesterday’s hearing on federal mandatory minimum reform in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee was great!

Over 40 FAMM members traveled from as far away as Washington State, Montana, Utah, Texas, Florida, Illinois and elsewhere to be with us at the hearing. At the end of the hearing, Senator Patrick Leahy asked family members to stand and hold up pictures of their loved ones who are serving mandatory sentences. It was a powerful moment and one that reminded everyone that this is not some abstract policy dispute but a matter that affects real people.

The witnesses who testified in favor of mandatory minimum reform were excellent. Senator Leahy, who is the co-author of the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013, started the hearing by courageously admitting that Congress had been wrong to pass so many federal mandatory minimum laws, no matter how good their intentions. He said, “The number of mandatory minimum penalties in the federal code nearly doubled from 1991 to 2011. Many of those mandatory minimums originated right here in this Committee room. When I look at the evidence we have now, I realize we were wrong. Our reliance on a one-size-fits-all approach to sentencing has been a great mistake. Mandatory minimums are costly, unfair, and do not make our country safer.” 

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), the other co-author of the Justice Safety Valve Act, highlighted the need for individualized sentences so that the time can fit the crime. He said, “Each case should be judged on its own merits. Mandatory minimums prevent this from happening. Mandatory minimum sentencing has done little to address the very real problem of drug abuse while also doing great damage by destroying so many lives.”

The committee also heard from Brett Tolman, a former federal prosecutor in Utah. Tolman criticized how mandatory minimums were used in drug cases. He said, “The threat of long mandatory minimum sentences has not resulted in the identification of high-level leaders of drug organizations by low-level targets, primarily because “kingpins” are smarter than that – they insulate themselves so the “mules” and street-corner dealers either do not know who they are or do not have enough information to lead to their discovery let alone prosecution. As a result, the long federal sentences routinely go to the lower-level targets while the “kingpins” and their drug trafficking operations continue to thrive.”

Marc Levin, the policy director of the Right on Crime Initiative at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, testified about the great progress states across the country have made in reducing crime while reforming their sentencing laws. Mr. Levin noted that Texas has reduced its prison population and crime rate through recidivism-reducing programs and alternative sanctions that would not have been possible if the state had more mandatory minimum sentencing laws.

As was expected, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and a witness from the National District Attorneys Association raised objections to mandatory minimum reform. It was frustrating to listen to them misstate the facts, but it was a clear reminder that not everyone gets it.

“Now what?” is the question everyone is asking.

The next step is for the senators to roll up their sleeves and decide how to merge the two bills discussed today. Some senators favor the Justice Safety Valve Act, which gives judges discretion in all mandatory minimum cases. Others favor the approach of The Smarter Sentencing Act, which applies only to drug offenders.

It’s likely that some deal will be struck to merge parts of the two sentencing bills, and package them with so-called “back end” fixes, such as allowing prisoners to move from prisons to halfway houses and home detention sooner. We would welcome that because some of those changes might benefit thousands of current prisoners.

Of course, finding agreement on all these reforms will make negotiations complicated. And they will take time.  But make no mistake: those of us who believe in commonsense sentencing and prison reform have the momentum and we’re going to ride it to the end!  And we will keep you posted every step of the way!

In the meantime, read my written testimony that I submitted on behalf of FAMM, as well as a statement from Lisa Angelos, whose brother is serving an outrageous 55-year mandatory minimum sentence. You can also click here to read the witness testimony.

Again, thank you to the families who traveled from far and near to be at the hearing today!  What a difference those faces made to personalizing the pain of mandatory sentencing laws.

My best,

Julie Stewart
President, FAMM

44 Responses to “The Federal Sentencing Hearing and What’s Next!”

  1. Kimberly Lacy

    Thank you so much for all your organization is doing to help reduce the sentencing. My husband has a 10 year mandatory minimum sentence and fits into that category. I and his whole family have written many a letter to our state representatives in both Illinois, my home state and Nevada the state that I currently live in for the last five years that he has been incarcerated. I pray that these bills get passed so Reginald Penro can come back home to his family. He has an 12 yr old son and a 5 yr old son who needs him in their lives. they cry every other night because they miss him so much.

  2. Tracy Tibbetts

    I just want to thank you for all your hard work all of you my husband just did 7 and a half years and we have always been close but now that he is out being out here after being in there for so long he is different everything is new to him and it is hard on the both of us for him to get back into the routine of things we still do not live together sense he has been home we are in different states because I had lost my job and my place after he went to jail and starting over with 2 kids is not easy so I truly hope things get better with this sentencing because I do not want anyone to have to go through what I have because of the mandatory sentencing good luck to all and I pray that it all works out.

    • lois mostow and ruth kekkey

      wishing you the best of luck and God’s blessings…unfortunatly.a one year sentence or 50 yrs all boil down to a LIFE sentence…..once you have done your time you should be able to move on…I do not believe that every one should have easy acess to one’s past record

      • Christy

        You are so right this is crazy!!! If you have done your time why are you being punished again for the same thing……then you were not even caught with any thing……it’s just really crazy I am praying each and every day that the law change and my family can reunite… kids need there dad so much it’s very expensive visiting and it’s so sad when the visit is over he has to stay and everyone is crying…..please lord in your name Change this law for all the inmates

        Thank You Jesus we all know your not sleep………and you know how these inmates are being treated…….

  3. Tina Hylton

    My mom and dad both Teddy and Willa Elswick is both in federal prisons. First of all my folks are and have always been hardworking people my dad worked 33 yrs of his life in a coal mines. My mom drove school buses and worked with the public. My dad fell with the wrong crowd he hadn’t been in any drug crimes or anything like that before. But he was misled to sign a blind plea deal and when he did he pled to a huge amount of drugs and money that he had nothing to do with. He now is a 62 yr old man that only has 19% lung function and the Eastern District of Kentucky being Pike County KY. gave him 22 yrs in prison which is a life sentence for him. He went into the court room that day being labeled a level 5 drug dealer he walked out of there a level 2 which is a street level dealer now pulling a king pin dealers time. That isn’t right. My mom Willa Elswick had nothing to do with any of it. They told her with a written and a verbal plea agreements that she wouldn’t spend one day in jail and she is pulling a 2 1/2 yr sentence in Lexington KY camp for women. I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart and soul we along with my parents have suffered like dogs and there seems to be no end to the injustice that keeps happening to my family. My brother Wayne Elswick passed away August 10th 2012 my dad wasn’t even allowed to go the funeral services while being held in county lockup the marshals refused they said they didn’t have the time to fool with it. I beg for prayers support and I beg for the lawmakers to make a difference in the lives of these people. That is what the people forget that people in jail are human but are treated in human.

  4. Free Kit Brown

    FAMM thanks for your continued stronghold and support for reform! My husband was sentenced in to 30 years for conspiracy with intent to distribute, possession with intent to distribute,and gun possession within 5 miles of a school. He was found guilty on all counts except the gun charge yet his sentenced was enhanced for the gun possession because as the judge stated “prior history!. My husband had been to jail once in his life prior to this instance when he was 18 years old. (Which that was expunged yet thjudge used it to enhance his sentence). He was 36 at the time of his sentencing of 30 years! Had not been in trouble in aalmost 20 years! Legally, this was his 1st offense! He was charged under Kingpin status!!! On appeal, the appellate court asked the judge to justify his sentencing as the gun charge was an acquittal…the judge refused to reconsider the sentence iin spite of the fact that my husband in testimony admitted guilt and aacknowledged without coercion to his responsibility of his past indiscretions. He has no idea he would take the weight over everyone since he refused to talk or give up anyone else. Well to say the least his sentencing was a travesty of justice! As he was responsible and honest enough to admit to his past dealings. he figured 15 years maybe, NEVER 30! what kingpin do you know of that doesnt own any property and who has nothing to show for their years of dealing! Surely he was no kingpin yet, he has been sentenced as one! I hope this passes as it stands his release date is 2021!!!

      • NEWYORK..

        I hope it all works in your favor.. he’s lucky he got a number… and not “Life” like my husband did.. And he’s NEVER been arrested in his life.. Very similar charges. He’s been in the F.B.O.P for 15yrs.. I want ALL of them to come HOME!! 🙂 No-one has the same mentality today, they did 15+ years ago, on top of being older men now.. Let them come home and enjoy their families..

    • Free Kit Brown

      Oh and might I add the individuals that set him up and testified against him, one of which was his “best friend” only served 3 years. The individual that was with him at the time of his arrest that actually had the drugs on him did not serve one day! They wanted him to cop a plea to 20 years, what kind of plea is that? Two of the lead investigating officers were corrupt and eventually investigated and all individuals arrested under their investigations were released except my husband of course.

  5. Roxanne whitehead

    I pray with all my heart that these bills get passed. My boyfriend Todd Allen Brown received a 10 year mandatory sentence which I thought was outrageous. He does fit into that category. Inmates in that category have been treated unfair. Prison terms so harsh so long. One size fits all does not fit all. My boyfriend should not be in prison for 10 years. All this mandatory sentencing has not accomplished nothing but overcrowding in prisons cost money to house all of them. This takes away a lot of these inmates lives. They have families. Mandatory sentencing is inhumane. Please help change this

  6. lydia rodriguez

    hi my brother is serving a 17 year sentence, we have lost our mom ,our dad is elderly in bad health he may never see my brother again, my brother got involved with drugs after selfmedicating,he was shot n left for dead,only after being set up to be killed after he confronted our brother in law after he raped and molested several children in our brother was put on pain pills but had no health insurance and turned to street drugs,with no choice to support his habbit he turn to street dealers and got involed to support himself and his family,my brother is a good man he proved it by going out and protecting his neices from this preditor when we got no help from the police brother will give u the shirt off his back he is not a violent person ,we miss and love him verry much ,he has grandkids that he has never met,his x wife and mother of his kis will tell anyone my brother is a good man, whos sentence of 17 years belongs to the preditor who to the day walks the streets and all our family agrees that my brother should be able to come home and give his 17 year sentence to the preditor that set my brother up to be killed,if my brother had not been protecting our children he would not have turned to the streets he would probly be at home watching his grandkids grow up,this preditor has molested other children and to the day is on tv on the preditor chanell still walking the streets of lubbock texas. the only way justice would be served would be if he was behind bar s and my brother would be home .the system is so wrong they also make sure they name 2 or more freinds to make sure they can put people away for as long as possible under conspiricy laws.politicians should walk into these overcrowded prisons where many of these men and women will be release into the streets one day some may not even have their wives or family members to come home to ,no jobs so who will support them when sociaty cant help them,put monitors on them send them home before noone can help them out here,we all know that financilly we cant afford to support these ridicolous sentences anything over 10years is a miracle if inmates families are even alive or stick around to take care of inmatesafter they are finally release so they have no social security to turn to no job its rare some one will hire a criminal. we, with no record can get a job! what about anyone with a prison backgroun?save the long terms and cells for killers ,and people who dont deserve to walk the streets, let the punishment fit the crimes!thank you famm for being our voices !

  7. Nichola Fournier

    I would first like to begin by thanking you for your dedication to something that affects the lives of so many people. Not only the men (and women) who are unjustly sentenced to serve ridiculous amounts of time, but their families who are also being punished because of their absence. I cannot seem to overcome the question I keep asking myself which is “Who are they really hurting? The person who made the mistake or the people who love them?” Children are forced to grow up without their parents. Women have their hands tied trying to provide for them on their own. Parents, for all intents and purposes, have lost all hope of ever seeing their child pull it together, turn their life around and become the person they had always wanted them to be.

    As I read through the other responses, I can see that we are not alone in the “trumped up” quantities under which people are sentenced. Why is it legal to sentence someone for more than they had? Why is it okay to label them with “kingpen” or “leadership” roles when in actuality they were lower (actally higher if you follow legend) on the totem pole?

    Craig was sentenced to 30 years! He knows what he did was wrong TO AN EXTENT. He is also the first one to admit that he probably needed the first 8-10 years to figure out that a life of drugs was not what he wanted for his life…for OUR lives. Now that he is ready to be everything he can be, he will lose the next 18 years serving basically a life sentence for a lesson he has already learned.

    So, I will leave you with this thought. For those people who believe in mandatory minimums, they should take a look at all the changes which have occured in their own lives in just the last year. What makes them think the people incarcerated are any less capable of making the necessary changes in theirs? You are not winning a “war on drugs”. You are crippling people and stealing their hope in a better tomorrow. And your paying for it with MY tax dollars!

    P.S. For those of you who pray, we have an appeal in and I would appreciate it if you could pray for us.

    • Nichola Fournier

      P.S. (2) How do they plan on “taking care” of a 65 year old man who was never allowed to pay in to social security or a contribute to a pension plan? Oh… that’s right, our government will have already spent that by then! Ugh.

  8. Jimmy Hunsucker

    First : how is it that all this federal tyranny is being unleashed on our country? ( MONEY!) That’s how. Please join Rand Paul’s dad, Ron Paul in an on going effort to( END THE PRIVATE FEDERAL RESERVE BANKING SYSTEM). Most people have no idea how our money works in this country.
    Second: What the feds are doing to us is in fact (“slavery”). These currant federal laws are very comparable to “THE FEDERAL FUGITIVE SLAVE ACT” of the mid 1800s. the Northern free states at that time started invoking the 10th Amendment, State rights, Nullification, and passing Personal Liberty laws against the federal government. here in Missouri, last week we all but got the anti federal gun Bill passed…it lost by only one vote. I think state Nullification and passing Personal Liberty laws is our only hope once again. Please research us at

  9. lois mostow and ruth kekkey

    my son was 16 when he fell in with a horrible girl,needless to say she was putting out and my son who was an honor student, champion chess player, all star althlete won prizes for creative writing succumbed to he “charms” had never been on drugs before . I found out he was using drugs thru a routine medical …it al happened so fast …he and this group he was hanging out with robbed cab drivers,no weapon. (..what make this a double whammy bto me is that my dad came home from a dirty hard factory job so I could go to private school) he convicted under the 3 strikes law by Judge Ana Gardiner in broward county FLA….google her http://www.jaablog) she is on trial herself now on trial herself…. the irony here all of this is the other six kids all died of drug overdoses and my son refused to name his co robbers so in essence going to prison saved his like although I think 20 years is far far to long a sentence…I am greatful when I go to visit him that I can hug and kiss my son… and am deeply sorry that the parents of his cronies cannot he has served 11 years now and is approaching his 28th birthday, never having been an ADULT in freedom….keep up the great job FAMM

  10. lois mostow and ruth kekkey

    forgot to add dad came home from his factory ate his dinner and drove a cab six nights a week

  11. Jacqueline Chaplin

    I understand what those family are going though I to have a some in prison. Doing 14teen years fed time his name is Shaheed Chaplin his # 17246171 he is in Alabama air force base maybe u can help him my name is Jackie Chaplin #803 223 4595 hope hear from you some

  12. michelle

    to famm;we thank you for all your voices and dedication,my mom and i give my uncle james hope that GOD ,famm and alll the families of these inmates that were sent to prison for all these ridiculous amounts of years instead of sending then to rehadd,treatment or a facility that does not just lock them up into unhumane cells like animals that dont deserve to walk these streets insead of people that rape,murder and torture inocent people and get slapped in the hand so politicians can raise their collar at the next election and say yea i signed for maximuimsentences, where will these politicians be when these vicims of there political showoff days are over,and these xcons are out homeless and no jobs are finally free after there injust sentences are done .who will make new laws to give these uneducated,unemployed,homeless,abandoned,xcons a chance !we are out here if we have even a minor background with the new laws we cant even go on a feild trip with our grandkids!what hope do these long term xcovicts have!!!!!!!!!!!WHAT POLITICIAN CAN PUT THEIR EGO ASIDE AND ANSWERE ANY OF US!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!please put an end to this madness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Tammy Donty

    My son Ronnie Nelson was 22 when he was sentenced to 12 in a half yrs for the sales of weed he did recieve a leadership role because he refused to corropurate with the goverment he has already served 5 although he was a first time non violent offender he recieved a enhancement because of a Dui so i want to thank you for all that FAmn is doing for are loved ones

  14. Mike nembhard

    Thanks to the famm gram organization can’t say how much we who are suffering as love ones of this mandatory minimum stuff. I think the federal system has went to far in punishing especially first time offenders for these long long periods of time. I have a uncle who been sentenced to life in prison as-first time nonviolent offender. He has been in for 20 yrs now. Yes he’s has made a mistake in dealing drugs but sentencing him to life is definently going over board. He is not an animal he is simply a human being who has made a mistake in his life like we always do. I believe he has paid his debt to society now he should be giving another chance to become a productive member to society. Give him a chance to save a life upon relief by directing him to do community service by mentoring kids in his community or helping his community grow by doing positive things with the youth. This great man has a heart of gold with beautiful wife kids an grand kids who would be ecstatic of his freedom. Keep In mine he is a first time OFFENDER! I not only pray for my uncle release but for the rest of the inmates who are in his category. Praying that this two point reduction goes through it would put him from level 43 life to 41 which is 27 years. With 20 yrs in that will definently restore his situation an hope to his freedom. Thanks famm gram for all you do. We all are truly blessed to have your organization on our side.

  15. tammiet townsend

    i myself just left Alderson FPC. Many women are holding on to hope that this will help lower their sentences….allow inmates to go to home detention and halfway houses to shorten their prison time.
    This is long overdue…..the politicians need to do their jobs and free up the federal prison population.
    Lets do as Texas has done, make this happen so families may be reunited with their families.

  16. Naomi Carrasco

    I want to say thank you to everyone involved in helping this bill past. I don’t know if it will help my dad but hope it does. He was sentenced in 2009 for drug traffic but they had no evidence just a so called picture no one ever saw. He was sentenced to 25 years his attorney told me that the judge was mad because my dad wouldn’t give them more info on my uncle and his connections. My dad had a history of being locked up and so it was used against him they used all they could on him. I am just happy that they will finally be sentences fairly.

  17. Chris

    My Nephew was given 60 months for a drug conspiracy charge. The group of about 10 people in his ring are all out-BUT him!! He was the drug addict picking up his drugs when the Feds busted the house. The leader of the bunch was a Pastor. The bulls**t the courts tell you about RDAP program aware all lies!! Has anyone other than Michael Vick types gotten off a full year to complete that program? My Nephew will get out (halfwayhouse) in 13 months. We were also told 500 miles is where they place you from home. He has done the majority of his time at Leavenworth!!! First time offender, no prior felonies, no violence, no guns, nobody died in the drug ring……Our family was lied to from the start of this nightmare!! Stupid misdemeanor charges ( deviating lanes, speeding, DUI, and a marijuana paraphanilia charge) all made his criminal history score enough to not allow him safety valve. Instead this decent person who happened to make stupid, immature choices because he used drugs, ends up in a Federal Penitentary. So when he does finally come home HOW does he rebuild a life? Everyone else in the ring did short stints at Camps!! Our system is SO unjust-it’s pathetic!! Thank God someone is finally talking about changes!! Our family prays that something, even a 2 point reduction for each current inmate happens SOON?? Currently, my loved one is over a thousand miles from home in Florida-living amongst child molestors and pedophiles!! The FBOP got tired of our family writing congressmen and FBOP officials to get him moved out of LW. They were so nice to oblige- they sent him further!! PLEASE HELP SOON!!!!!

  18. Nicole

    I am grateful for all that your organization is doing. My husband has been incarcerated for over 9 years under a minimum mandatory. He was told he could participate in the RDAP and would possibly get an reduction but last week he was told he doesnt qualify based on assumption that his non violent drug offense could have caused him to become violent. He has no violence on his record or has been in no trouble since incarcerated. I plan on writing Grand Prairie the office that came to this conclusion. i hope and pray the FBOP isnt allowed to impose their own interpretation to wording and that these bill past soon. Its SAD instead of allowing inmates an chance to get back into society to become productive, our govt would rather spend our tax dollars housing inmates based on assumptions then allow them a chance to get their lives back. We still have Hope and Faith that this min mandatory will allow him home soon. Thanks!

  19. Becky

    Thank you. Please give us hope that someone is looking at the research that keeps coming up saying if you are a first time offender of the child porn offense – with no prior crime – that there is practically no chance you are a risk to anyone. But the Mandates, enhancements, take a 20 year old young man possessing this porn – into saying he is a distributor. With first offense, never met, or touched, or contacted, chatted, nothing – but Mandatory with enhancements – the US attorney advised she could go for 100 years in the US penitentiary, OR he could take a deal for “only” 20 years. The there is that worthless sex offender registry – for the rest of his life. At least the rest of the y’all don’t have that to deal with!

  20. Mimi

    I read that they were looking to strike a”back end deal” that would help individuals that are actively serving their sentence; is there any implications of how long of a time frame they have set to accomplish this?

  21. cynthia richardson

    my friend Gerry McCrary got sentenced for 25 yrs on the same similar mandatory crime who has never been in any jail of this sort before, it was a harsh sentence, he is a very good guy in heart and wouldnt kill a fly, Never the less he has lost 21 years in the system for making a mistake in been true to the game. Now, he has served his time and its time to let him go, so power to the people at FAMM, lets get this on

  22. Shirley Henry

    I am 73 years old and my son is serving a 12 years sentence for ‘possession of too many pills,’ How vague is that charge and the sentence for this should have been a maximum of 8 years. They enhanced him because he had a record of serving 6 years for a DUI. He needed rehabilitation not incarceration. His story is the same old story so many of us lived. A 28 year old man we thought to be a friend and good influence on Tim was actually getting him started on drugs ad EIGHT YEARS OLD. I was from the generation before drugs and did not even suspect this. Tim married, but his marriage ended in divorce and the loss of his two children so devastated him that he sank further into the world of alcohol and drugs. He has been locked up for 5 years on the 12 year sentence, just recently he a search of his cell produce a rusty old knife in his mattress. This is really an injustice since the mattresses at this facility are not inspected when they are turned in or checked out. This knife was either in there for five years or was placed there in an attempt to get my son moved to make his cell available as it is larger and is only a two man cell in a facility that has mostly crowded small two man cells. He serve 10 days in the SHU and lost a lot of priviliges, even though 17 inmates went to bat for him and two officers also fought for him. The DO fought to get the whole charge expunged but one officer refused to allow it. I was refused a visit last weekend after driving 155 miles, because of this, even though the visitation sanction had been removed a very power hungry controlling guard refused to check into it even though I asked him politely 3 times. My son got this straightened out yesterday by taking his paperwork to the DO, which Is what I wanted them to do get the paper work. But since I live on a pension and have to pay someone to take me to visit I still cannot make another visit soon as I have to save for months to get the money for the trip and this time the money was for nothing. Since my son has been locked up he has finished every self improvement program offered by the facility and is presently in his second year of college courses with a 4.0 average, he was upset when he got a 98 on one of his papers instead of a hundred. This man has completely turned his life around during this incarceration, he is 49 years old and deserves the chance to get out and make a life for himself before he is too old to do it. The 2 level reduction would put him at a point where he would be released sometime in the next year instead of in August of 2017. We as families must push to get this passed, ratified and working to bring our loved ones home. I want my son home before I die and at my age that is certain a possibility at any time. His sentence is excessive and he should be free to spend time with his family even though his children are grown and have cut him out of their lives I need him in my life. is our only hope, please keep up the good fight.

  23. Gloria Galberth

    Thank GOD for FAMM and their hard work in combating the injustices of the war on drugs. Like the rest of you our family has written letters and called everyone we thought could bring attention to unfairness and misery that is caused by these long sentences. My son Daryl Smith was sentenced to 30yrs. His 8 co-conspirators took plea bargains testified against him and got 4 yrs. In June of 2006 the 4th circuit court of appeals said he should be sentenced in accordance with Booker vs. Hughes his attorney presented a case US v. Collins the govt conceded to the findings In the judgment and commitment order the judge sustained the issue. the maximum sentence should have been 0-20 years with a Default penalty that called for a sentence of under 5grams, although he over ruled it prior, because of error . My son was resentenced to 30yrs. On the Statement of reason the judge marked within the advisory range none of the other boxes were marked. No changes were made to original PSR so the 50grams or more of cocaine base and the Relevant conduct of 507.3 grams of cocaine base held precedence. To the reviewer of the PSR when it came time to sentence in regards to the 18-1 ratio change error again occurred in calculation of the new sentence. We’re hoping that the public defender will do the right thing and correct this but he has made it clear that he’s looking at it as a courtesy to a former client, he stated that his job ended at sentencing.

  24. Gloria Galberth

    It is my hope that it will not take much longer for these people that are locked up for such long period to gain freedom. It’s unconstitutional in my opinion to take away someone’s life and liberty for ten or more years for what, a drug that as a whole get you less time than that same drug that’s mixed with something else it’s crazy. The prison system as a whole is robbing the families of their love ones as well as financially each time we send funds there are fees attached, each time we visit if they are hundreds of miles away like my son has been for the past 9yrs. we leave a piece of us there. You don’t know the humiliation and pain that families go through from the beginning of trial until that loved one is home.

  25. Odessa T. Worthy-Lee

    Our beloved brother Ervin Darnell Worthy has served 17 years of a three times you out sentences (which one of the charges we still are not clear about. In any case we have been fighting hard to get someone just anyone to hear his plea for another chance. We are a large family and Ervin not being with us at Funerals, Holidays, Graduations, Football and other things we feel grieved because he is not there. We as a family welcomes reform in the current statues of the three times out regulations, named Mandatory Minimum and that the new changes be made retroactive please. We Pray.

    • Keith Thornton

      I was the case agent in the investigations that led to Erwin Darnell Worthy’s conviction. I wrote a petition that is now closed asking for mercy for Darnell in the form of a Presdentil pardon. I agree that the requirement of a life sentence is cruel and must be changed. I still recall much of the case involving Darnell and I read his heart felt request for a pardon, his only hope for freedom. He has admitted his wrong doing, he has been harshly punished and he deserves mercy. Please give my name and thoughts to Darnell and his family. I will do all that I can in support of his pardon. Thank You

  26. Angel Davis

    My boyfriend has been locked up since 2003.. His release date is 2017. I know that it is a god and he will be set free soon. His name is Russell Johnson. I am not just praying for his release but everyone who has family member that are locked up..

  27. Sherron Parker

    My son was sentenced to 15 years in a minimum security prison in Texas for drugs. He has never been in trouble with the law until now. The police that did the bust have since been fired or transferred out of that department after finding corruption within the department. One guy got his charges dismissed but they wouldn’t consider my son. The federal government charged his with ghost drugs from 5 times convicted criminals for reduce sentencing. The government has not only destroyed his life but our entire family. I pray for his release.


    Hello and Thank you for taking your time to be a part of my campaign for TRUTH AND JUSTICE!! I have been in Federal prison for 8 years fighting for my life.
    Recently The “USA Today’s ” front page read ENTRAPMENT in bold letters across the whole page concerning what has become and out of control problem the feds and dirty informants setting up citizens who never had anything to do with what they end up being framed with.
    I would have never paid so much attention to this article (or others I have read in the past years) unless it would have happened to me.
    Well it did! and I don’t go one night without laying on my small cell bed unable to sleep. still shocked, crushed and still in disbelief by what happened to me.
    The use of these frame-ups by agents and their informants is wrong and innocents are getting taken away all the time.
    Unfortunately, my case does not have any DNA issues (it is possessions of weapons and drugs) If It did have DNA then I would be able to prove my innocents like over 300 men have done since DNA’s use began not to long ago. 300 men in prison for decades begging anyone that would listen to them and the court system to listen to them, that they have been framed, that the informants, police and prosecution are lying, that they are innocent!
    Can you imagine how wonderful these men felt when the DNA test came back and they were finally freed after decades of abuse in prison.
    Like I stated before I can’t use DNA in my case to prove my innocents but I do have overwhelming amount of proof to PREVAIL an appeal if I can just acquire an attorney so JUSTICE can be served. Federal Agents are using scumbag informants to prey on citizens in ways the agents can not legally do, Then claim disassociation from the C.I.’s when that citizens rights have been trampled upon.
    C.I.’s often plant evidence, threaten the “target” and lie about it all to stay free themselves. The agents and CI’s manufacture the alleged crimes from start to finish.
    One recent report into Gov’t misconduct points out: “the use of informants has always been a dicey proposition since they’re often working in the area of law enforcement for which they have no particular training, equally problematic is that informants receive personal benefits for their work: the reduction of changes in pending cases, lessoning of a pre-existing sentence AND payment for their “work” which creates a very dangerous incentive structure.”
    Then amazingly the Federal Gov’t lets them continue to commit REAL crime and remain free in society!!!???
    Innocents lives are being ruined, including mine. through these wrongful practices ,and not just these framed up but their families’, children and other love ones are effected also. In turn everyone rights are trampled upon across the nation and it also means it can happen to anyone. YOU. I found this out myself.
    In their zeal to ENFORCE the law, Gov’t agents may not originate a criminal design, manufacture and orchestrate crimes in order to prosecute.
    Isn’t there enough crime going on for these Gov’t agents to pursue, than to WASTE TAXPAYERS MONEY!!?? by spending millions to CREATE fictitious crimes in order to prosecute. Isn’t their job to infiltrate EXSITING criminal organizations not manufacture them??!!!
    This is tantamount as to firefighter’s lighting fires to in turn put them out , and then pat themselves on the back. Afterwards pleading to the public for more firefighters.
    Our founding fathers of this country would be appalled by the idea, and use of ENTRAPMENT!!
    I KNOW I AM!!
    I lost everything I had worked so very hard for (owned my own business) but because of two dirty FBI Informants . (Whitey Bulger?)
    they were facing criminal charges at the time and continued to commit violent crimes on the State and Federal level through out the time they were setting me up! and testifying against me at trial, they were the witnesses against me.
    The Federal agents and Prosecution hid their charges they were facing until after my trial.
    The Gov’t attorneys engaged in systematic concealment at significant exculpatory evidence which would have independently corroborated my defense and testimony , and seriously damaged the testimony, and credibility of the Gov’t, C.I.’s (Key witnesses). This is called a ‘Brady” violation in the courts)
    Additionally, the prosecution purposely misled the jury through out my trial and repeatedly lied and was even out right caught.
    The U.S. Marshalls who were in charge of watching me through out the trial told me in the holding area on recesses how angry they were with what they were witnessing , one actually gave me 3 pages of notes one morning before we began to continue with trial telling me he had been up all night upset with what the prosecution was doing to me.
    Though the Jury did convict me , after trial their first question to the judge was “are you having the Informants arrested”? They also stated that they didn’t know what to do and clearly it was a bad case, and that they NEVER would have found me guilty had they known the huge amount of time . 25 YEARS!! (They’re not allowed to know the sentence till after the trial. Some jurors even called my attorney after the trial. Also a side note: Jurors also found those 300 men guilty who were later exonerated through DNA.
    Americans hand prosecutors an awesome power-The POWER TO DESTROY fortunes and futures. We are seeing a pattern of abuse and scandal at this power in order to win cases.
    In order to help these prosecutors , police (and their informants) remember that their job is to do justice and NOT to simply lock someone up, there should be automatic and severe penalties for these violations. They should be accountable!
    GOOD EXAMPLE: MY trail Judge Jack T. Camp was caught with four different drugs, two pistols, involvement with strippers buying cocaine from an FBI agent shortly after my trial. The same Judge that slapped me with 25 YEARS , He got a 30 day sentence??!!! This REEKS!!!! That’s right the judge who gave me 25 YEARS had charges carrying MORE time (use of a firearm during a drug trafficking transaction got merely a slap on the wrist!! (30 DAYS) , He also proceeded over one appeal while admitting being on drugs yet my appeal was denied!!! and refused to be reheard.
    That is why I’m reaching out to friends, family and even thoughtful stranger’s to help me get the professional legal representation that I so desperately need! PLEASE HELP A RIGHT A WRONG AND HELP ME BE BACK WITH MY FAMILY. I heard about “crowd funding” sites and a wave of hope overcame me. I hope and pray you will find it in your heart to donate to my legal campaign and set an INNOCENT MAN FREE!! JUSTICE!!

  29. nikia strait

    My husband was sentenced 20 minimum for a drugbcase. He has alreadybserved 9 years. IIthas been so hard and everyday we pray tht God will give us release. Hes a changed man and truley has learned from tht mistake. Ipray he gts released soon, its been long enough, hes not violent and went from medium security to low security and stays out of trouble. I just wish this was all over. Can I gt tht for thanksgiving or Christmas.

  30. aflynt

    My fiancé was sentenced 11 years and I want to see him come home to be a REAL father to our 5 yr old son. He has been in flop nc since jan.18,2008! My son needs his daddy and the govt needs to stop giving out hats sentences to go nonviolent criminals that have families especially small children! They learn nothing from sing in prison but gain more knowledge of what put them there! Put them all in half way houses or home stay with fricken ankle bracelets and let these people live there lives and change for the better! Make them give back to the community and outreach programs to youth that are going down same route! This is killing me being a single mother raising our son withouta dad. It’s insane they treat us like crap. Us families on the outside are in limbo like we are mourning the loss of loved ones in flop! To have your kid ask you every day when is daddy coming home…. I miss daddy… Crying over there dad not being there is almost like the kids think its there fault and my son has no idea how much his daddy loves him! If the govt would just let them come home early parole we could be a. Family again! People changed! Not everyone are the same! Please email me with any help you may have for my fiancé!

  31. Eddie

    I want to know more about this. My brother is doing 20 years for a crime they blamed him for and has currently served 14 years already. Is there anyone I can speak with about maybe a reduction on his time since it may have been over kill on his sentence.

  32. Mary ann

    I want to thank you for trying to help the people in prisoner .My brother is serving a life , on drugs charges he has been in jail since 1992 ,my daughter died in 2007 , his wife in2012 , mother in 2012 his brother in2013 he has not been around . he had heart operation in jail . he is 71 now need to be home with his family he has been in long enough. please send my brother home please


    I thank GOD for FAMM ! I wish I had money to help out . My husband has been but in prison on his first time with drugs . He received 13 years 4 months. I understand he does too . The punishment does not fit the crime . His name is Michael Wright Ashland Ky 52 yrs

  34. Somia Williams

    I pray this law gets passed. My stepdad is in jail now and they are trying to give him 30 years for a nonviolent crime. He may have done wrong but he has not killed anyone and I’m more then sure that he has no intentions on getting out and doing wrong again. Everyday that passes I see how much my mom hurts and my sisters and brothers also. I don’t understand how can nonviolent offender can get so much time when it’s no fair to their families especially the kids. He is a great father and husband, has always been a good guy to everyone he comes in contact with. He wasn’t even the person who was over the people who got the drugs and he is being looked at as the big person. Please pass this law so everyone including my stepdad can be released soon. We miss him so much and want him home. Let’s all pray for our loved ones to come home and not have to be gone too long. Anything over 10yrs is too long for people who had not harmed anyone nor killed them. OBAMA PLEASE HELP US!!!

  35. Eddie

    it is a shame we can be so proud of this country where at the same time we see how laws and life can be so unfair to our loves one.I see the over punishment the hate on people because of there color but I what the whole world to know that america i wrong who pass the laws where people get sentence because of ther past come on! people. my brother 36 serving a 30 year sentance on a hear say case its a big laugh, he was nat even at the scene of the crime a business place gets raided and just because he used to worked there he gets nail. six months go by and he gets a call from his parole officer hes says i want to see u in my office a.s.p he goes next thing u know hes being arrested for drugs and money weapons that the federal unit never! found on him or possess just becuase 7 years ago he was in state prison for a drug case the only thing i can say people he paid for his mistake back then or how many more times can u be punish for something that happen in the past it sucks and i dont think its write he became a certify mecanic and for what just to sit in jail for 30 federal years this is not america people,this is an outrage of how judges can have that right to sentence people to hell for a very long time and no law or right can do something about it we americans have to make a stand and get this senators to do something about it….

  36. MIsty

    My brother is signing a 12 year plea deal today in Tennessee. His charges are for “ghost drugs”, conspiracy to distribute. There were no drugs on him. 3 witnesses, one was his best friend forever receive low sentence deals for their statements. There’s also a charge for enhancement, even though no weapon was found, but 1 bullet was found in a storage unit that belonged to his girlfriend, not him. Conspiracy is a charge police use when they have nothing else. He either takes a 12 year deal or takes the risk of 25 – life. His daughter will be 27, his Mom will be 72 when he gets out.


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