When the Time Doesn't Fit the Crime: A​.​G. Wm. Barr, Judge D. Proctor, Free Robert Evans

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Petition on behalf of Robert Evans, his wife Jennifer and their family. Please read their story and sign this petition to help bring Robert home to his family so he can receive the care and medical treatment he desperately needs. Thank you. 

Jennifer Evans' Appeal:  My husband, Robert Evans is a federal prison inmate serving a life sentence on drug conspiracy charges. I’m not proud of some of his life choices. I make no excuses for his actions and neither does he. But he has now served 12 years with good behavior and his health is failing rapidly. Robert’s entire family loves and needs him safe at home. We are seeking an immediate compassionate release so that he may receive the care and treatment he desperately needs.

We recently filed an emergency petition to Judge R. David Proctor in the U.S. Court, Northern District of Alabama requesting an immediate compassionate release due to Mr. Evans' extremely weakened condition, the fact that the BOP cannot give the care he needs, and the immediate threat of Covid-19. The prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Russell E. Penfield, held firm to his objections, and with no due consideration of the facts presented, the court denied the emergency petition. We were given 14 days to appeal.

Fighting for justice has drained me financially. It took selling many of my possessions to raise the money to pay an out-of-state attorney, and now in order to file an appeal the attorney will need an additional $10,000 which I do not have. Time is running out for my husband's life and time is running out for appealing to the court. This in literally life and death.

My husband's story:

Robert Evans is a paraplegic. He is also a Type II diabetic. In 2002, six years before he went to prison, Robert was involved in a serious accident and suffered a spinal cord injury which left him partially paralyzed without sensation in his lower body. His condition has seriously deteriorated since he went to prison in 2008.

Despite his disabilities, the government opted to apply the 851-enhancement mechanism and sentenced him to life in prison for a non-violent drug offense. The judge acknowledged his illness but asserted that the BOP could assist or address his medical needs.

Robert describes his 12 years of incarceration within the Federal Bureau of Prisons as "one long nightmare" of mental and physical torment and medical neglect that has brought him and his family to the edge of hope and he is now fighting for his very life.

In 2009, during transit, Robert developed a pressure ulcer on his left buttock. He immediately started seeing the nurse in Oklahoma for wound care. After 45 days at Oklahoma Robert was sent to USP McCreary where his wound continued to worsen and 120 days later he was sent to Springfield Medical Center because USP McCreary could not accommodate his medical needs.

Two years later Robert was shipped to USP Terra Haute with an open wound – the same pressure ulcer from 2009. Two weeks after arriving at USP Terra Haute he underwent emergency surgery on a Sunday due to infection in the pressure ulcer.

The diagnosis was necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating bacteria disease. Every year some 1000 people in the US die from this disease. After the surgery, the remaining wound was a huge 18 cm long, 8 cm wide, and 8 cm deep. After a month in the hospital, Robert was finally released back to the institution and for three years he was in medical and going out to a wound care clinic. Eventually the wound healed, or so it seemed, and in 2015 he was transferred to FCI Talladega in Alabama. 

The fact that people with type II diabetes are at significantly increased risk of serious infections cannot be emphasized too much when considering Robert’s vulnerability.

During the next few years, with little help from prison medical authorities, Robert was faced with the constant fear of another infection as he continued self-care struggles trying to prevent another pressure ulcer from forming. Finally, the worst happened, and Robert was once again hospitalized in April 2019 for a recurring pressure ulcer in close proximity to the ulcer from 2011.  

During this time Robert was informed that he had a bone infection (osteomyelitis). According to medical records, wound care specialist, he had been suffering with a bone infection since 2011.

In May 2019, Robert petitioned the BOP for compassionate release. It appeared he was a candidate based on medical staff and warden’s approval at FCI Talladega. However, once the prosecutor talked with the medical director at FCI Talladega, opinions changed according to the U.S. Attorney who has continued to press his objections.

In the meantime, however, Robert and Jennifer were able to seek the evaluation of an outside specialist with years of experience with cases such as Robert’s. Once the evaluation concluded, everything came to light in terms of the severity of the bone infection. Until then Robert had no idea he even had a bone infection, let alone realize how serious this is.

From April 2019 to November 2019, Robert had several infections while at FCI Talladega for which he received antibiotics. During this time, he couldn’t eat and lost about 25 pounds. Finally, after becoming critically ill, Robert was taken to the hospital in January 2020.  While in hospital, he underwent a debridement surgeries and weeks of IV antibiotics before being transferred to Butner Medical Center in North Carolina. Since being at Butner, Robert has had continued infections for which he has received more rounds of IV antibiotics.

The BOP has done what it can to treat the infections, but the fact remains, according to the specialist’s evaluation and recommendation, Robert cannot sustain self care in the BOP. His osteomyelitis requires highly specialized surgical procedures not available to him in any BOP hospital. Without the surgery to remove the infected bone, Robert’s prognosis is dire and chances for recovery nil. The cycle of recurring infections treated with weeks of antibiotics is simply unsustainable. As the medical expert pointed out, the inevitable result will be increasing damage to the kidneys and eventual death. Robert’s story highlights the fact that the BOP is and always has been totally incapable of providing adequate care for patients with significant paralysis, especially one with type I diabetes.

For what it’s worth, insisting on keeping extensively disabled non-violent drug offenders like Robert in prison is not only ethically unconscionable, it also comes at a staggering cost to American taxpayers! 

Now Robert’s life is in imminent danger, not just because the BOP cannot and will not provide extensive specialized surgeries to save his life, but also, due to his extremely weakened condition and type II diabetes, by the threat of Covid-19, currently running rampant through BOP facilities, including the Butner Federal Medical Center, where Robert is currently housed.

Despite the harsh life sentence Robert received, nothing in his history indicates he is or ever has ever been a threat to society and he certainly is not now. He and his family are simply waiting for Judge Robert David Proctor of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Alabama, to approve Robert's compassionate release petition that  has languished in the court for nearly a year – with no explanation for the delay other than the persistent objections of the prosecutor, U. S. Attorney, Russell E Penfield. Time is running out for Robert.

Given these truths about Robert's history and present condition, the question must be asked: How can any reasonable person of conscience – any jurist, prosecutor, politician or bureaucrat –  who holds Robert Evans’ very life in their hands deny this man his basic Constitutional protection against cruel and unusual punishment? Robert Evans deserves the opportunity to receive the surgeries and care he can and will receive if and when he is granted a compassionate release.