Colorado Amended HB 12-1213 Retroactive Application: Immediate Release for Harold Smith
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My name is Harold Smith and this is My Story
I was convicted of aggravated robbery and habitual criminal in June 1998. Aggravated robbery is a Class 3 felony which carries a maximum sentence of 16 years in prison. However, I had 2 Class 5 non-violent prior felony convictions. The first was possession of a dangerous weapon which I was sentenced to 2 ½ years in the Colorado Department of Corrections in 1993. I was allowed to go to the half-way house in May 1994. I walked away (escape) in September of that year. I was charged with, and convicted of escape, and sentenced to one (1) year DOC and one (1) year parole. This was the second felony used to adjudicate me a habitual criminal. I was on parole for the first escape when I caught the aggravated robbery January 26, 1998 which makes me ineligible for executive clemency. The punishment for aggravated robbery is 16 years was multiplied by 3 extending my sentence to 48 years. Those are the facts of my case.
In 2012 Colorado Representative Rhonda Fields sponsored House Bill 12-1213 (hereinafter referred to as HB 12-1213) which states “AN ESCAPE SHALL NOT BE USED TO ADJUDICATE A PERSON HABITUAL CRIMINAL”. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed HB 12-1213 into law May 17, 2012, however it is not retroactive. I am still in prison due to a law which is no longer relevant or applicable in cases such as mine. In other words I have completely served my time plus additional time for the crimes I’ve committed, which would have subsequently allowed me to be the free and the socially productive man I’ve evolved into today.
I have been lobbying Congress for four (4) years in an attempt to have this law sanctioned as retroactive. I’ve been in contact with State Representative Jovan Melton who assured me he was 90% positive retroactivity would be enacted by legislature as expressed in a formal document by the beginning of April 2016.
Unfortunately the Retroactive Amendment of HB 12-1213 did not materialize as State Representative Jovan Melton expected as he was unable to secure endorsement by Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives Dickey Lee Hullinghorst who refused to even consider the proposed new bill during an election year.
Ironically, the passage of the Amended HB 12-1213 Bill for retroactive application would only affect me and 5 other people. Only 6 people would be released immediately from the Colorado Department of Corrections statewide.
This type of injustice is so prevalent in the American Justice System because it’s an industry/business generating billions of dollars for private corporations. MASS INCARCERATION is big business with outrageous rates of incarceration making us the internal empire of an expansive for-profit incarceration state therefore there is no motivation to let anyone out of prison.
This injustice is tolerated simply because the business of MASS INCARCERATION encourages and considers inmates as collateral damage, and majority of the disproportional incarcerated population has lived their lives in the margins and fringes of mainstream society therefore deserving of whatever comes their way.
In the words of Michelle Alexander “Who makes money off mass incarceration? Not just private prison companies. Local economies in many regions of the country have become dependent on prisons and jails, complicating efforts to downsize. Prisons and jails mean revenue and cheap or free labor. Prisoners themselves have become commodities to be traded, sold, or bargained for reminiscent of an era we supposedly left behind.”
How can the United States of America call itself the Beacon of Modern Day Civilized Society, Respecters of Human Rights, fairness and the Land of Liberty and Justice for All? While simultaneously willfully knowing, and with extreme impunity, allow and justify the exact opposite to happen to myself and countless others who exist in the bowels of the American Industrial Complex? This is a direct contradiction and violation of the values for which the United States claims it stands. Where is the justice in that?
Representative Jovan Melton has assured me the newly Amended HB 12-1213 Bill will be one of the first five (5) bills introduced to the upcoming January 2017 session and maintains he does not have to submit the bill to the Speaker of the House providing it is one of the first 5 bills proposed. Rep. Melton is convinced Amended HB 12-1213 will pass the House and Senate and signed into law. But only if he can submit the bill before anyone else submits theirs.
Meanwhile as we await the Jan. 2017 session, Rep. Melton suggested I compose a letter to Governor Hickenlooper, addressing it directly to Rep. Melton at his office which he would personally hand deliver to Governor Hickenlooper, which I did in April. I was to explain the circumstances of my incarceration which has been extended three fold past my conviction sentencing. I was to remind the Governor he signed HB 12-1213 “an escape shall not be used to adjudicate a person habitual criminal” into law and as the Governor undoubtedly believed people such as myself are not habitual criminals. It was also recommended I ask the Governor to review the injustice of over-sentencing, over-criminalization, sentencing reform, prison and reentry reform which at this point is unnecessarily harsh and contributes to prison overcrowding while ballooning the state prison budget, and rectify this injustice by commuting my sentence to the original 16 years as time served.
I have family and friends out in the real world who love, respect and are proud of me but it’s not enough to push though the governmental red tape. My daughter Shaquan and I are desperately trying to generate as much publicity as possible to shine a light on this injustice in Colorado.
PLEASE sign my Change.Org Petition so we may forward it to Governor Hickenlooper, our only option for Executive Clemency as he is the one who signed Amendment to HB 12-1213 into law.
If you or anyone you know can help I would truly appreciate any and all input, or even a friendly letter of support and please re-post this to your social media page asking your friends to sign and re-post.
Many thanks from the bottom of my heart, and blessings for taking the time to read my message.
Harold L. Smith
DOC # 81050 Unit A4-4
Buena Vista Minimum Correctional
PO Box 2005
Buena Vista Colorado 81211
Read more about me, my accomplishments and redemption on my webpage https://letourvoicesecho.wordpress.com/colorado-house-bill-hb-12-1213/
Slavery Is Not Dead in America!!! https://letourvoicesecho.wordpress.com/2016/08/17/slavery-is-not-dead-in-america/
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