A (60) YEAR FL PRISON SENTENCE FOR THE THEFT OF A GOLD CHAIN! JUSTICE FOR DWAYNE COMES NOW
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DWAYNE'S IMMEDIATE RELEASE AND/OR RESENTENCING WOULD GREATLY IMPACT OUR FAMILY IN THAT, OUR ELDERLY PARENTS WHO ARE BATTLING SEVERAL DEBILITATING AND DETERIORATING ILLNESSES WILL BE ABLE TO SEE HIM AS FREE MAN BEFORE THE LORD CALLS EITHER OR THEM BOTH HOME.
For twenty-one (21) years now, Dwayne T. Johnson – DC No. 425552, continues to awake in a Florida State Prison after having been convicted and sentenced to two (2) [(30 Year consecutive sentence terms - for a total of sixty (60) years imprisonment (with affixed minimum mandatory penalties)] for the “theft of a gold chain” (Charged in the Information as one count of Armed Robbery); which was the result of a low-level drug deal gone bad. Dwayne was also charged and plead guilty, taking a plea of (8) years for Possession of cocaine charges – to which he also had an addiction. However, he maintains his innocence of the robbery charge of the Gold Chain and the facts of his case clearly supports his claims and refutes that of the victim and the testimony of the one and only “since recanted” teenage witness.
After hearing the erroneous and egregious verdict, in haste, Dwayne “attempted to run out of the court room” but was (apprehended before leaving the Attorney’s table); Dwayne was then (Charged in the Information with one count of “Escape” – However out on Bond and Not considered In Custody at the time.) He was subsequently found guilty of Escape and handed this cumulative “60 Year Life Sentence (by an all-white jury in a predominantly white and affluent Florida city – Naples, Florida.)
Since the time of his conviction Dwayne has pursued numerous appeals and post-conviction motions which have all been denied. In fact, in May of 2001, only a few months after being found guilty, the trial court conducted a hearing on Dwayne’s motion for new trial based on the affidavit of the one and only State witness, recanting his trial testimony that Dwayne had robbed the victim. Specifically, the witness alleged that the police pressured him to say that Dwayne robbed the victim when he did not know who actually did. The court found this claim to not be credible because the officers who interviewed the victim, who was 16-years-old at the time of trial, disavowed having pressured him to identify Dwayne as the Subject.
THE NEWLY DISCOVERED EVIDENCE:
On Sunday, December 18, 2016, an unknown man “a new witness” came forth and declared under penalty of perjury that he had a casual conversation with the “alleged victim.” At that time, the victim advised him that there was an individual by the name of Dwayne Johnson, also known as “Nino” who was “supposedly” in prison for robbing him back in early 2000. However, the victim told this new witness that Dwayne Johnson did not rob him. Instead, he (the victim) had pawned his jewelry to Dwayne Johnson for some drugs. The “alleged victim” explained that the only reason he claimed that Dwayne Johnson had robbed him was because his step-father was a law enforcement officer and he did not want him or his mother to know that he lost the jewelry because of drugs. After having this conversation with the “alleged victim”, the new witness, looked up Dwayne on the Florida Department of Corrections website and advised him what the “alleged Victim” had told him. He asserts that despite having served some time in prison, he never met Dwayne Johnson nor knew of his existence.
This new witness is someone who was unknown to Dwayne until he was contacted by him with the information he provided regarding the “alleged victim.” Dwayne could not have known the “alleged victim’s impeaching statement to the new witness at the time of his trial through the exercise of due diligence because this “alleged victim” never disclosed that he had described the incident as a robbery to conceal from his parents the fact that he had pawned his jewelry in exchange for drugs. Finally, in his affidavit, the “new witness” identified the man (“alleged victim”) he spoke to from a booking photograph that was obtained from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. This Motion for an Evidentiary Hearing/Mew Trial based on this newly discovered evidence has been awaiting a ruling for the past two (2) years. Meanwhile, Dwayne is just sitting in prison away from his children and our aged and ill parents to which our mother suffers from chronic Parkinson’s Disease.
[Note: The “Alleged Victim has a voluminous and lengthy arrest history for drug use, drug possession, DUI, DWI, etc. in Collier and Lee County, Florida. Of further note, Dwayne plead guilty to drug possession and sale and to date, has served his sentence of nine years in full to include; all of the attached minimum mandatory sentences associated with these charges.]
I am fully aware that you all have focused your reform efforts on those trapped in Federal Prisons however, I am humbly requesting that you all please advocate on those trapped in the State Prison System, namely Florida State Prisons. African Americans in Florida have very little advocacy resources because of the highly Republican base and deep South mentality that impacts minorities and plagued many of our voiceless communities for centuries. The work is certainly here. We just need a blessing from the Lord through your help to gain traction towards significant criminal justice reform. Any type of assistance that you all could provide would be beyond anything we could ever ask for or expect.
THE FACTS AND STATS:
As information, despite the lack of evidence, facts, and mitigating circumstances; Florida sends more of its citizens to prison and keeps them there longer than many other states. That is due in part to mandatory minimum and enhancement laws that require a one-size-fits-all approach to sentencing for certain offenses, regardless of an individual’s circumstances or prior record. In fact, within the last ten (10) years, dozens of states (to include, Texas) have passed reforms that saved lives, families, as well as taxpayers money, reduced crime, and reduced prison populations – Florida is not one of them. Rather, Florida spends more than 2.4 billion dollars a year to incarcerate nearly 100,000 people in prison. Moreover, Florida’s laws require those incarcerated to serve 85% of their sentence regardless of changed laws, proven rehabilitation, or the risk an inmate poses to society.
Additionally, Florida over-incarcerates low-level drug offenders and stack them with enhancements and other charges to ensure that they never see the light of day ever again. Supposedly these laws were designed to target kingpins but they ensnare low-level, often first-time offenders. As of 2015, 36.6 percent of Florida’s prisoners were serving time for non-violent crimes such as drug possession, narcotic possession, and property offenses, often tied to addition. Florida has and continues to keep these low-level offenders behind bars for such a long time which has been expensive and counter-productive.
In closing, systemic and excessive sentencing laws throughout our nation and particularly here in Florida (Namely those with minimum mandatory penalties and enhancements) often create unwarranted disparities by treating similar offenders differently and different offenders the same. It is obvious that all of the relevant facts and circumstances of Dwayne’s “alleged crime” was not carefully considered before he was wrongfully and maliciously handed this unfair punishment and “LIFE/DEATH SENTENCE.” Dwayne is currently 51 years old and his 21 years of incarceration is beyond repaying his debt to society. His continued incarceration is now a debt to Florida taxpayers and citizens. Thus, we are requesting and praying that the facts and evidence in his case be thoroughly reviewed by an Integrity Review Board/Committee and/or the Governor please grant him Clemency or commute his sentence to time served so that Dwayne can be immediately released to his family who desperately needs and misses him. Amen.
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