prison reform

233 petitions

Update posted 3 days ago

Petition to Illinois State Senate, Illinois State House, J.B. Pritzker, Donald J. Trump, Illinois mayor, Illinois Governor

My story! My Truth! Please help me get a reduced sentence!

To write me go to, Register to make an account or log in and add Illinois Department of Corrections then add Armando Guiterrez K57497   My story , my truth! If you're reading this then you're ready to be a friend. Since day one of my incarceration I haven't caught a break. From the beginning my constitutional rights were violated. It started off with my illegal detention at the police station. The night of my arrest I was at the scene. When the police arrived they walked into the house and arrested me but thats not what they said when they took the stand. They lied and said I walked out of the house and thats when they took me into custody. They knew that they couldn't enter the house without an arrest warrant so they lied to get a conviction. Once I was in the back seat of the squad car I started to come off of the PCP I had smoked, I didn't know what had just happened 10 minutes ago. I was clueless at the moment. So the cop started to ask me what was wrong with me because I was acting crazy and sweating. I told him I don't remember anything and that I needed to go to the hospital and I felt like I overdosed. Instead he drove me to the police station where they held me for over 72 hours before they took me in front of a judge for a preliminary hearing. The whole time I was in custody at the police station I was interrogated.  I was stripped of ALL my clothes except for my boxers. It was October and freezing and I was held in the basement where they kept taking me back and forth from an interrogation room every 5-10 minutes not allowing me to sleep in between. They asking me what happened while they would beat the crap out of me. My answer was the same, I don't remember and I WANT MY LAWYER. Finally after 72 hours of interrogation and beatings I heard them talking in another room and one of them said they finally got Nestor to talk and say I did it. Shortly after I was taken to the county for processing. At my very first court date I told my attorney I didn't remember anything and that I was high on PCP the night of the shooting. The lawyer informed the judge and the judge ordered that my blood be examined for drugs. So for months I waited for my name to be called to have my blood drawn but the hospital never called. I informed my first attorney that I was supposed to get a drug test but he never looked into it. He stated that my defence would be an intoxication defence. Shortly after, at one of my court dates the state sought the death penalty for me. I snapped on my lawyer and he asked for more money to hire another attorney to fight the capitol case. I fired him and hired another attorney, Micheal Johnson, who told me he would get the death penalty dropped. And thats what he did, I told him about my case and I told him we needed to get a psychopharmacologist to come testify about my intoxication. He said NO we’re changing your defence to self defence and we're not going to mention the PCP in trial. He said he could beat the case with self defence. I objected but he insisted. So I listened to him because he is an attorney and what did I know about the law. That was the biggest mistake of my life. I wasn't trying to beat the case, I was trying to get a lesser charge. So trial began and everything blew up. I took the stand and testified to what my lawyer told me to say, thats when the states attorney hit us out of the blue with a little sister conspiracy!! I never saw that coming. The state took our inside joke and twisted it into a motive to fit their prosecution. What no one knows is we would joke around and talk to each other. It’s a well known fact that no one with a sister wants their friends to date them. So my boys sister had a crush on me and he would always chase her back in the house to keep her away from the crowd. So to mess with my best friend I would tell him that I was going to date his sister when she got older, he would get mad and I would laugh and then we would all laugh. And that was the extent of that. I had a girlfriend and kids at home and was close to getting married. So when the state hit us with their theory it caught us by surprise. It was something I never expected them to say, I thought their only testimony would be the truth of what happened that night. I was high on PCP and we got into a fight. WHY?? Im still confused to this day as to exactly why the fight started but I do know it was a combination of some Latin Kings that drove by the alley and a comment that was made by Antonio to Jeorge about the little sister liking me ( Jeorge was the older brother). At that moment I was smoking a stick (PCP laced joint) and the Kings drove by as Antonio made his comment I saw Antonio run to the basement to get a gun in case the Kings came back around and I slipped into my high. I didn't remember anything from that moment until days later when my memory started to come back to me through dreams and recollection. Apparently we got into a fight and started to struggle for the gun, I was hallucinating and I thought my friends were Latin Kings jumping on me. According to Antonios testimony they were just trying to keep me from leaving because I was so messed up and intoxicated off of beer and weed with the PCP that they thought I was going to crash my car and kill myself, he testified that I was stumbling around and mumbling to myself. So we fought for the gun and I began shooting at everyone, I didn't know what I was doing at the moment. I was not even present in my conscious mind. I was under a PCP hallucination. And Antonio never mentioned the PCP during his testimony because the states attorney told him not to bring it up because I would beat the case or get a lesser charge of 2nd degree murder. So during closing arguments the states attorney painted a picture to the jury that this whole case was about a romantic interest in the little sister. When in fact it had nothing to do with her and the ONLY thing it was about was the fact that I was high and hallucinating. The truth never made it to trial and I've been kicking myself in the ass ever since. I should’ve never let my lawyer talk me into going with his self defence ! As a result of this I was convicted of first degree murder. I couldn't believe what had just happened. I snapped on my lawyer and told him he should’ve brought up the PCP at trial. A few weeks later I was back in front of the judge for sentencing and the judge said he couldn't find a motive to this senseless killing of my friends, but when he coupled it to the fact that I was intoxicated it was the only logical reason for the murder. So even the judge knew what really happened but because my lawyer didn't argue the intoxication defence I was convicted of first degree instead of second degree. The judge went on to use my criminal background in mitigation and stated that my criminal history coupled with my inability to control myself ( as he stated ) it is clear to him that I pose a significant danger to the community and he believed a significant penitentiary sentence is required to protect the public and punish me for my actions. What he didn’t take into consideration was the FACT that most of my criminal history is not mine at all!!! In 1996 I was charged with aggravated battery and sent to prison. I didn’t commit that crime, one of my friends did but I got locked up for it. The street code we live by is to never snitch. So I live and die by it. So as a result I went to prison for something I never did. Then while out on bond for that 1996 case I got caught with a gun and went to prison for that as well. When I got out of prison I got locked up for disorderly conduct and during my stay at the police station I got into an argument with the police and they all jumped on me and broke my fingers. To cover it up they charged ME with battery to a police officer! These are the cases the judge used to determine the content of my character before he sentenced me to a bogus unconstitutional defacto life sentence even though he claimed to have taken my potential for rehabilitation into consideration. He never knew the truth about my past and if I would’ve tried to explain it to him he wouldn't of believed me anyway. I say my sentence is unconstitutional because Illinois has truth in sentencing guidelines which make it mandatory to impose consecutive sentencing on top of 100% of a sentence to be served. I say its unconstitutional because when the Illinois general assembly adopted the truth in sentencing law Illinois never adjusted their sentencing guidelines like all the other states did that took on truth in sentencing. This is in direct conflict and violates the Illinois constitution article 1 subsection 11 that says that the goal of sentencing is to restore the offender back to useful citizenship. Well 60 years to be served at 100% of the time is considered a defacto life sentence. Illinois recently drew the line at 40 years to be a life sentence for a juvenile. And the federal sentencing guidelines put 30 years as a life sentence. On top of all this Illinois has just recently ruled that the 1996 UUW gun law is unconstitutional and void ab initio. Which means that law is non existent, and therefore can never be used against anyone. WELL thats the law I went to prison for , and its the same gun law that the judge used against me during my sentencing to say that i needed to be put away for good in order to protect society. And now Illinois is saying that law is no longer a valid law and its unconstitutional to have charged anyone with it. SO WHAT LAW DID I BREAK IN 1996!! And what background is the judge using to make the determination of how long to sentence me if the background he used against me no longer exists and must be erased from my record. On top of all this the Illinois courts are now just starting to take into consideration the modern science thats coming to light about the development of juveniles brains and the line between juvenile and young adults and when we come into maturity. Scientists are saying that we don't fully mature until our late 20's and other countries have already adopted this to their sentencing schemes when it comes to sentencing young adults. Well I was only 23 years old when I caught my case and the brain science puts the line at young adult maturity at 25 years old. Ive been gone from society now for 20 years and no one can tell me that if I got out today I would be a danger to society. All I want to do is find a job and spend time with my family. I don't even care about my old life or what it meant to me when I was a kid. When I was a kid I thought like a kid and acted like a kid but now I’m an adult and I think like an adult. So how can a judge make a determination of how anybody would turn out to be after 20 years??? So why was it necessary for him to triple that number and give me 60 years?? He gave me life in prison without having to say the words : I SENTENCE YOU TO LIFE. This is Americas new Jim Crow, it cloaks itself in justice but really its just modern day racism and slavery. How could I ever be expected to live out a 60 year sentence?? It’s impossible, I was sentenced to die here , and thats why I need your help.

Randi Gutierrez
422 supporters
Update posted 4 days ago

Petition to President Joe Biden, Vice President KAMALA D. HARRIS, Debbie Stabenow, Department of Justice

President Joe Biden...Please Pardon my Chronically ill father!!

My father, Felix Walls, is a federal prison inmate serving life 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 24 years with good behavior and his health is failing. My family is seeking a Compassionate release on his behalf. His prosecutor, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and the U.S. Probation Office have all approved his release plans but a judge must sign off for him to spend his last days at home. He is now 75 years old. He suffers from Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, and arthritis. His Parkinson’s condition has advanced to the point where his ability to function in a correctional facility is greatly diminished. My father has met all the criteria for compassionate release. Compassionate release is a program in which inmates may be eligible for early release due to “particularly extraordinary or compelling circumstances which could not reasonably have been foreseen by the court at the time of sentencing”. Our dad is not a danger to his community or himself. He was involved in drug trafficking in the 1970’s and 1980’s and convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine in and one count of conspiracy to launder money. We’re simply waiting for Judge Robert Cleland of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to approve our Dad’s compassionate release petition. The petition has languished in the court for almost half a year – with no explanation for the delay. Time is running out for our father. Please sign and share this petition calling on the Eastern District Court of Michigan to grant final approval for our father’s compassionate release –before it’s too late.

Phyllis Bell
94,002 supporters
Update posted 5 days ago

Petition to Joe Biden, President of the United States, FAMM , Christopher C. Miller, Richard V Spencer, Asa Hutchinson, Kenneth J Braithwaite, Gregory J. Slavonic

First Time Offender Relief Legislation

First Time Offenders of all kinds receive punishments that they can never recover from. I was 19 when I committed my crime and now I am 35 the only reason I haven't been released is because of the reason I committed it. With no other justification, I will most likely spend more time in prison than I was alive when I committed my first crime at a time where experts have deemed me irresponsible. I was TOO YOUNG to buy alcohol. I was educated prior to prison and I was raised by good people. Once I realized how monumental my bad choices were, it was too late to change them. Now I have a positive voice and a plan to reach anybody like me, without the freedom to actually do so. With cases like mine, nothing I do will redeem me for what I did. No amount of good will replace the life that I've taken. Which is why the desire to do SOME good is so sincere. People like me aren't seeking redemption or absolution, just purpose. Continued confinement's only purpose is to punish. It helps no one. Not even the victim's family. If I died in here or got released tomorrow, their loved one is still gone. If I save one person from making the choices I did, that changes the world. I have a release date already. The question is will I be released when I can still reach the goals I've set or just with enough time to try to enjoy what time I have left to live. I think that is a tragedy. This will impact a lot of communities because there is a part of the prison community that just got caught up in their immaturity and desire to fit in. Once they served 5 to 7 years, they became aware of their positive side with goals of being model citizens and changing the bad opportunities they've faced for others. Many of the youth today miss the most effective messages because some people who CAN reach them rarely get the opportunity before they become to old to focus on anything other than survival in a strange new world they've been removed from for twenty years. We see the stories every day of the drug dealer who is done with crime because they gave back a life sentence they didn't deserve, but what about the kid who made a bad decision? The one who didn't see the world clearly because they didn't receive a message that made sense to there understanding. Those people that just messed up. They deserve a second chance too. Whether u are a law abiding citizen or lifetime criminal, examples should be made to individuals. Individuals should not be made into examples for the world. Science has proven that long term confinement provides less of a deterrent than hope.

R Les Alexander
741 supporters