criminal justice reform

88 petitions

Update posted 2 days ago

Petition to Mike Carroll, Gov. Rick Scott, Marcia Weller, Lynda LaCentra

DCF cannot make up the rules--grant productive citizens a Level II clearance!

My name is Tiffany Kelly, and I am the Game Changer.  I am the Executive Director of The Morning After Center for Hope and Healing, Inc. I work to level the playing field for populations that are disadvantaged to assist them in their goal to economic stability. My client has been cleared to work by FL Department of Health, the Florida Board of Nursing, and qualified for an Exemption From Disqualification and Level 2 cleared by the Agency for Health Care Administration (ACHA) & the Agency for Persons With Disabilities (APD).  She has applied for a Level 2 Exemption from Disqualification with the Florida Department of Children and Families, and they WILL NOT give her the clearance.  These agencies are all governed by the same statute, Florida Chapter 435.  The reason for denial is that she has not shown “rehabilitation.”  She has been a Board of Nursing cleared CNA for over 10 years, works to transform her community, and they say she has not shown rehabilitation to be eligible. Being a productive, working citizen for well over 10 years is not rehabilitation? Then what is? Or do you not believe it exists at all?  DCF is arbitrarily making up their own definition of rehabilitation, and refusing many people I serve the opportunity for economic stability.  Their refusal to give her and many others a Level II clearance, when other agencies with the same rules have, is a blatant abuse of power and keeps us in poverty. We have the RIGHT TO WORK.  Mike Carroll, look at your agency's practices.  When people have paid their dues to society and work as productive citizens, in low paying jobs at that, give us the chance we deserve!  At some point, the punishment for our mistakes must STOP.

Tiffany Kelly
252 supporters
Update posted 1 week ago

Petition to Randolph Bracy, Dennis Baxley, Aaron Bean, Rob Bradley, Jeff Brandes, Denise Grimsley, Darryl Ervin Rouson, Ross Spano, Julio Gonzalez, Sharon Pritchett, Ramon Alexander, Thad Altman, Dane Eagle, Bill Hager, Gayle B. Harrell, Chris Latvala, Jared Evan Moskowitz, David Richardson, Emily Slosberg, Jennifer Sullivan, Clay Yarborough, Rick Scott

State Of Florida Repeal The Mandatory Minimum Prison Releasee Reoffender Law!

The State of Florida currently has a subsection in their sentencing guidelines statute called “prison releasee reoffender.” According to this statute, anyone who commits, or attempts to commit, certain crimes within 3 years of being released from a state correctional facility in which the sentence was punishable by more than 1 year, is not sentenced under the usual guidelines.  Instead, the individual MUST be sentenced according to the PRR guidelines.  Following, you will read the cases of four individuals sentenced under these guidelines.  After reading these cases we will beg the question, does the punishment fit the crime?  We believe it does not, and we hope you will agree.  We are proposing the PRR subsection be repealed (much like the CS/CB bill signed by Governor Scott in 2016 which repealed the mandatory minimum sentence for aggravated assault with a firearm) and made retroactive to its inception.  Please help make our proposal a reality by signing and sharing this petition.  Of note, in order for this repeal to be made retroactive, we urge anyone from Florida to vote YES! on amendment 11 in November. Jonathan Beaudry:  In 2003, at the age of 21, Jon received his first felony conviction in Florida for fleeing and alluding police officers, which he committed due to driving with a suspended license.  He served 1 year in the county jail.  Sometime after getting out, he was arrested for a trespassing charge.  After bonding out, and then returning to serve time on that charge, he was unaware that the 5 cigarettes he had in his pocket would bring him his second felony charge of attempting to bring contraband into a correctional facility.  He served 18 months in prison for the contraband charge and was released on July 7, 2005.  After being released, he held a job as a cook during the day and obtained night jobs at 2 other restaurants.  Around September of that year he opted to pursue a better-paying job, but after 2 months of working there the raise he was promised never materialized, and feeling very frustrated, he quit.  To his dismay, he had trouble finding another job, and with Christmas on the horizon he began to feel desperate.  On December 22, 2005 he says he made the biggest mistake of his life—committing an armed robbery with a knife to obtain money for Christmas presents and groceries for the holidays.  Jon spent 1 year in jail awaiting trial and was found guilty.  Due to Jon having spent the 18 months in prison on the contraband charge, he would ultimately be sentenced under the PRR law and received a life sentence--even though the victim did not want Jon to receive such a harsh sentence, and even wrote a statement to that effect.  The judge, as well, did not agree to the life sentence but had no discretion udner the PRR guidelines and had to sentence Jon to life without parole, even though under normal sentencing guidelines he would have scored out at 5 years.  Jon was 25. James Wilson:  In 2003, at the age of 19, James was charged with the sale/manufacture/delivery of marijuana.  He was sentenced to prison with a sentence length of 1 year and 1 day.  Approximately 2 years later, James would find himself homeless, living out of his van.  In June of 2005, he would make a decision that would ultimately cost him his life.  He attempted to steal a woman’s purse as she was putting her items in her car at a Wal-Mart so he could get money for a hotel room.  The robbery lasted approximately 5 minutes and James was able to take her purse which contained approximately $50.  He was ultimately charged with robbery with a firearm (later changed to robbery with a weapon), and kidnapping.  James was offered a plea deal and would have spent only 10 years in prison had he accepted, but he was confident he would be found not guilty on the kidnapping charge since he had not moved or attempted to take the victim anywhere.  The State’s key witness, his ex-girlfriend, testified that James’s intent was to steal the victim’s purse for money for a hotel room and not to kidnap the victim, but he was still found guilty of kidnapping.  Therefore, due to his previous prison time for marijuana, he was deemed a prison releasee reoffender.  If he had not been, the judge could have sentenced him within the usual guidelines, but under the PRR law the judge had no discretion and had to sentence him to life in prison without parole.  James was 21. William Jennings:  In 1995, at the age of 19, William was arrested for strong arm robbery while a student at an art school.  Unbeknownst to his loving family, William had a drug addiction.  After service approximately 18 months in prison for individuals under the age of 21, William worked in the family business and had plans of starting his own company.  Not being familiar with the prison system, William’s family expected he would have received some type of drug addiction treatment while in prison and would be released “drug-free.” However, William did not receive any addiction counseling/treatment while in prison.  Less than 2 years later, in order to pay for his untreated addiction, he would go on to commit several more robberies.  Although convicted of 2 counts of armed robbery, William never pulled a gun on anyone.  One of the victims indicated he had seen the butt of a gun inside William’s jacket, and that was enough for the weapon charge.  William was even dubbed “the gentleman robber” because of how polite he was, even returning one victim’s wallet back to them because he knew they would need their identification, etc.  Even with the armed robbery charges, William scored out at only 9 to 16 years in prison under the usual guidelines.  However, due to the previous unarmed robberies, William was also determined to be a Prison Releasee Reoffender, and due to these guidelines the judge had no discretion in the case and had to sentence him to life without parole.  William was 21. Mitchell Barrow:  In May of 1997, just 2 months after Mitchell turned 18, he became acquainted with a man named Danny Brandon who was 6 years older.  Danny convinced an impressionable Mitchell, and two of his friends who were the same age, to leave Arkansas and travel with him to Florida.  After arriving in Florida, Danny Brandon threatened Mitchell and his friends with a gun, saying he would kill them if they did not participate in a series of crimes.  In 2003, Mitchell’s mother received a confession from Danny Brandon which was relayed to Mitchell’s attorney.  It took 3 years to get an evidentiary hearing regarding this confession, and at that hearing Danny Brandon took the stand and under oath testified that he would have killed Mitchell and his friends if they had not done what he told them to do.  Mitchell’s two friends received only 2-year prison sentences.  However, Mitchell had been arrested at the age of 15 and charged as an adult in Arkasas for theft and forgery (he stole a pickup truck for a joy ride, and stole 2 of his mom’s checks and forged an amount under $100 total) and spent a year in a community punishment center.  Due to that sentence when he was only 15, Mitchell was deemed to be PRR under the Florida statute and once again the judge had no discretion on sentencing and Mitchell, at the age of 18, received a life sentence. We must make it clear that we are not insinuating that these individuals did not deserve some type of jail/prison time for their crimes.  We are not saying these individuals are innocent of their crimes. Our argument is, do these individuals, and so many others like them, deserve a LIFE sentence?  Without the PRR law, Mitchell Barrow would have scored to 30 years under regular sentencing guidelines.  As noted above, William Jennings scored 9-16 years, James Wilson was offered a plea for 10 years, and neither the victim nor the judge in Jon’s case felt he should receive life, and scored to 5 years.  And yet, because of the one-size-fits-all type of statute this is, judges having no discretion, and all four of these individuals were sentenced, along with their families, to life in prison without the possibility of parole, a sentence usually given to individuals who commit much more heinous crimes.  Parents are forever without their sons, siblings without their brothers, children without their fathers, all because of a draconian law that does not take into consideration common sense and individual circumstances. We propose the Prison Releasee Reoffender subsection be repealed and stricken from Florida Statute 775.082, and made retroactive to its inception, giving the discretion of sentencing based on the circumstances of each individual case back to the judges--where it belongs.  Please click on the links below to view more details regarding the cases cited above if applicable.  

Heather Gatheridge
1,614 supporters
Update posted 3 weeks ago

Petition to Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, President of the United States

Release Corvain Cooper from Life Imprisonment Without Parole for Marijuana

On June 18, 2014, Corvain T. Cooper was convicted in the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina in Charlotte for the crime of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute marijuana and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.  This was a non-violent crime.  Corvain Cooper did not use any violence, or even threaten any violence, in this case.  Despite former Attorney General Eric Holder's promise not to seek life sentences for non-violent drug offenders, the United States Attorney sought and obtained a life sentence under the Federal "Three Strikes" law.  Corvain Cooper's two prior felonies that were the first two strikes were a conviction in California for possession of marijuana, and one conviction for possession of codeine cough syrup without a prescription. When he was sent to prison for the rest of his life for selling marijuana, Corvain Cooper was 34 years old, a father to two young daughters, ages 4 and 8, a fiancee, a son, a friend, and a small business owner selling clothing and footwear. Corvain appealed his conviction and sentence, arguing that his sentence of life imprisonment without parole for a non-violent drug offense as Cruel and Unusual Punishment.  The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld this injustice, and the Supreme Court declined to hear the case. After his direct appeals concluded, the State of California enacted Proposition 47 and Proposition 64 as part of legislative drug law reforms after California legalized marijuana.  Both laws permitted people like Corvain Cooper to apply to the courts to vacate their marijuana or drug felony convictions, and replace them with misdemeanor convictions.  Corvain Cooper successfully applied, and both of his felony convictions were thrown out.  Both of the "two strikes" were vacated, meaning that Corvain Cooper was no longer eligible for the "Three Strikes" law. We filed a petition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2255 in the Federal court, challenging his life sentence under the "Three Strikes" law - since two of the three strikes were no longer felonies, he should not receive a life sentence. The Federal courts have denied our challenge.  The case is once again before the United States Supreme Court.  If the Court allows this sentence to stand, this man will never see his family again. In 2016, we submitted an application for clemency with President Barack Obama, asking him to commute this grossly unjust sentence of life imprisonment for a non-violent drug offense.  Unfortunately, before he left office, President Obama denied our clemency petition. I have been representing Corvain Cooper since his sentencing in 2014.  Because his family has been unable to afford legal fees, I have been representing him for free - pro bono.  I have pledged to continue to fight for this young man, who is a genuinely good person who does not deserve this Draconian punishment. Join us in asking President Donald J. Trump to stop the madness of mandatory life sentences for non-violent drug offenders, and commute Corvain Cooper's sentence so his daughters can grow up with a father. For more information, contact: Patrick Michael Megaro, Esq. Halscott Megaro, P.A. 1300 North Semoran Boulevard, Suite 195 Orlando, FL 32807 USA Phone: (407) 255-2164

Patrick Michael Megaro
77,496 supporters