Free Anthony Alvarez
Free Anthony Alvarez
The following testimony is from my cousin, Anthony Alvarez, who is serving nearly 20 years for a non-violent drug offense:
My name is Anthony Alvarez 14a0706. I was initially over charged in a trumped indictment that listed 32 defendants, including 179 counts, and I was named individually in 19 of those counts. The thrust of the indictment was to accuse me of being the kingpin in a massive narcotics sales operation. Among the 19 counts I faced was the class A1 Felony operating as a "Major Drug Trafficker". Before trial and in light of the A1 charge, I was offered a plea to the "Major Trafficker" charge, I would have received a 19 year sentence. My other two plea bargains was 25 years and 15 years to life. Insisting that I was no kingpin or "major trafficker" I proceeded to trial. Although I was convicted of 7 counts, they consisted of three sales of small amounts of cocaine (sale of a controlled substance in the 3rd degree) and related possession charges (possession of a controlled substance in the 3rd and 4th degrees). 2 of these sales I was charged as a principal seller, no buy money recovered, the undercover who testified never saw me or put me on the scene of the crime. Most significantly, I was acquitted of the "Major Trafficker" charge and the cocaine sales I was convicted of involved "less than $200 in terms of the total amount of sales."
In short, I was accused of being a kingpin mastermind of a wide-range narcotic conspiracy, but was convicted of only being a peon. I followed my rights to go to trial and prevailed *as a first time felony offender*. I was punished and given 18 years for a few sales totaling less than $200. A sentence of almost 2 decades for a small scale, non violent drug offense by a 20 year old. This is a gross injustice. People usually serve a fraction of that or even just get probation as a slap on the wrist. My draconian sentence is a symptom of the racial injustice that pervades our society and infects the criminal justice system in New York and the country as a whole. It's hard to imagine a white suburban 20 year old getting treated like I have by the system for doing the exact same thing. This isn't justice. This isn't rehabilitation. This is pure cruelty. People like me that come from where I come from, the projects, are trapped. The pipeline from my neighborhood to a prison cell is deliberate. I never received a fair shot. What's justice? "Liberty and justice for all" For who?