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Free Rafael DeJesus - 60 - 100 yrs for 1st nonviolent drug offense

This petition had 13,166 supporters

In 1985, my brother Rafael DeJesus was 15 years old when he arrived to the USA from the Dominican Republic. He attended high school and college with the dream of becoming a professional baseball player. After an injury that ended his baseball career, Rafael was devastated.

As a new father with a child to support, he began working various odd jobs. He became more frustrated as he had trouble making enough money to support his family. So he moved to Michigan where he thought he would find more opportunity. Yet once he arrived he still struggled to make ends meet, even as a bar manager and unfortunately made the fateful choice to try and make a quick buck by getting involved into the drug trade.

After eight  months living in Michigan, Rafael was arrested and sentenced to a minimum of 60 to 100 years in prison as a first time non-violent drug offense for possession and intent to deliver a total of 12 ounces of cocaine.

At 23 years old, Rafael was basically sentenced to die in prison. Now At 46, Rafael has already spent half of his life behind bars. I think he has more than paid his debt to society. We are asking Gov. Rick Snyder to commute Rafael’s sentence and allow him to redeem himself on the outside.

No one should be forever defined by one bad choice made in life. Rafael is the epitome of the failure of the War on Drugs. Four times he has asked for a chance to have his sentence commuted. Despite his efforts to show that he is a model prisoner with excellent behavior and educational accomplishments and not a menace to society, he still remains in prison and is expected to serve at least 38 more years in prison.

If Rafael was sentenced for the same crime today, he would have not received such of harsh and inhumane sentence. I think we can all agree that Rafael’s punishment does not fit the crime.

All my brother can hope for is that the facts of his case and the injustice against him speak for themselves. I hope they speak to you too.  I ask that you please sign and share our petition to urge Gov. Rick Snyder to grant my brother a commutation.


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