Addiction and sentencing awareness. Knowledge of your rights before accepting pleas.

Addiction and sentencing awareness. Knowledge of your rights before accepting pleas.

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Camilla Ward started this petition to Everyone Anyone

Hi, my name is Cierra Allyn Rounds. I am a mother of 2 beautiful children, a daughter to 2 awesome parents, a sister to 4 sisters and 1 brother and I am also an inmate in federal prison. In 2014, I was convicted of conspiracy with intent to distribute in Dallas, Texas. Some of the readers may’ve heard of me for my case made national news in both Texas and Florida where I was raised. I was in possession of 1 gram of heroin that did not belong to me and sadly a beautiful young lady who lost her life due a drug overdose. The media painted such a monstrous image of me without my side of the story. I was prejudged, prosecuted, and dehumanized.  I would like to inform everyone of the truth on my behalf ...

When I was a little girl, I had dreams the way every impressionable child has. I wanted to dance. I wanted to be able to express love, beauty, pain, enjoyment, and raw passion in the art of dance. I was enrolled in both dance classes and gymnastics. I was a cheerleader as well. By the age of 15 I had broken both ankles and suffered a torn acl. I was heartbroken, devastated. You can understand that as a child you obtain feelings and ideas of immortality, you feel invincible. Since you become so concrete on your occupation you don’t plan or even consider any other profession, as I didn’t. I was just 100 lbs. My doctor prescribed doses without concern of my body weight and size. Since we have to trust those certified in their professions, I did. Without knowledge of the effects and enormity of opiates, I took them in hopes to get better and I took enough to the point I felt no pain with plans to return to my normal dance cheerleading and gymnastics routine as quickly and stronger than before. I planned to be the very best, I had to make up for lost time, surely I couldn’t allow injury to hold me back. Well over time, I inevitably gained a tolerance, in turn I could tolerate more pain and received higher doses as the previous ones were no longer sufficient. Then I lose not one but 2 siblings; my older brother and baby sister consecutively to vehicular accidents. And it appeared to me that I would die without them and the pills would help until I became a full fledged addict. I have over dosed many times, broken my family’s hearts, and gave so much of myself to addiction that I feel empty at times. I have lost rights to my children. Yet, I still have so far into the addiction this is my current reality.

I immersed myself in the rave party scene. I was able to dance and party the pain away. I met so many different people including the ones on my indictment. One day there was this festival that me and my Co-defendants wanted to attend. The young woman who passed away was good friends with my Co-defendant and had recently been released from mental health institution for attempted suicide. She informed us all that she had collected money from her father and wanted to go as well. I was just looking to have a good time and party. I believe that was everyone’s intention. Until things went terribly wrong. After everyone collectively decided to do some quick partying. After a time the young lady became unresponsive and everyone took flight. I stuck around and called for help. 

As I was questioned I was informed that I was not a suspect. I was not informed of my rights. I thought I was just there to answer questions. I was released and later on I was contacted by police for supposedly being reported missing... I was then indicted into a conspiracy case and being held responsible for the unfortunate and untimely death of Miss Ryan Lashley. It turned out that my Co-defendants blames me for her death. In a attempt to rob Miss Lashley of the $3000 I’m her possession. I knew nothing of Miss Lashley until my codefendant introduced her. I knew nothing of Miss Lashley’s mental institution release. I was not aware that Miss Lashley injected/consumed a variety of opiates and benzos. All I had and consumed/injected was heroin. I stayed behind with Miss Lashley in hopes of saving her life and avoiding this all. I never meant for anyone to lose their life. Her family and my family both are suffering a great loss. No loss is greater in depth but Miss Lashley is no longer breathing and too me it is much more intense. Yet I am blamed for taking her life. What we were doing was absolutely horrid and no I am not perfect or innocent, but I tried to right my wrongs with Miss Lashley, to prevent her family from losing out like this.

During my hearings which I eventuality come to find out was indeed a trial, my codefendant recanted her statement that I was the one who injected Miss Lashley and under oath admitted that it in fact was not me but that didn’t matter. Thanks to the media and not being able to defend myself, a picture of me was already painted. My lawyer did not fight for me. I was supposed to sign an 11c1c which states that I am signing for a plea of x amount of time to x amount of time no more no less, which I did not sign. I was under the impression that I was going to jail from 5-10 years. The sentencing judge stated that “he takes the case personally and he would not allow an 11c1c because nobody is going to deny him the right to sentence the way he wants”. In turn I received an upward departure and am now serving 13 years for conspiracy to distribute, yet I am not charged with the loss of Miss Lashley’s life. I am not a not sentenced under a violent crime. In accepting my plea, my right to appeal under the 2241 was taken away and it was not explained to me. 

I attempted rehab to no avail because we couldn’t afford it. Rehabilitation centers and drug programs/classes at times are run by people who don’t understand or haven’t self experienced this world. I make no excuses for my choices, I accept full responsibility. However, I need help not incarceration. The world treats addicted like inmates and cases well before some of us actually become inmates with cases. I am asking for support and assistance in returning to court and receiving the initial plea I was offered, the one I never had the chance to sign, I am begging to be heard and understood in the fact that my rights were underhandedly snatched from me... Please and Thank You for taking the time to read this

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