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  • Serikali ya Jina: Eric Van Buren
  • Idadi kujiandikisha: 11044-068
  • Umri:42
  • Muda aliwahi:14 miaka
  • Nyumbani Town:Washington D.C.
  • Sentence:MAISHA
  • Sasa Mfawidhi:Conspiracy madawa ya kulevya
  • Alias:Big Erk, freckle Face, Beezer
  • Kutolewa Tarehe:Clemency Candidate
  • Gerezani Maegemeo:Another Chance 4 Legal (AC4L)
  • Mzunguko wa Ushawishi:Marcus Martin, Another Chance 4 Legal
  • Taasisi:USP Kanaani
  • There is no honor in coming to prison. It does NOT make you a man.

Criminal Justice Reform from the Inside Looking Out


Aristotle stated before the birth of Jesus Christ that the households make up a community, the communities make up a county, the counties make up the state, and the states make up the nation.

A dude in my old cru once said to me, “E, imagine having so much money you didn’t have to worry about anything- bills, huduma ya matibabu, gereza- absolutely nothing. You could afford anything you thought of, kitu!” He then said, “What would you think of? Would you try to put the world in order according to how you saw fit?” Then he asked, “Do you think there are people like this in the world?”

It would seem if I controlled the make-up of the household I could control a community. Aidha, I could control the make-up of a nation. If I had so much money I could afford anything, would I test my theories out to see if they proved true like scientists do? I don’t know about you, but all this makes me wonder about several things that have affected the community at-large.

Minority Congress members have built their entire careers on waffling. First juveniles are super-predators, then that was a lie. Crack was one hundred times worse than cocaine and it would destroy the community if you do not lock up people and throw away the key. We know that was a lie. Rap music is the instigator. We know that was a lie. Mandatory minimum sentencing will deter crime. That was a lie. There are too many repeat offenders, and if we lock them up after their second or third felony for the majority, kama si wote, of their remaining life it will send a message to the community and crime will decrease. That’s a lie.

I could tell you the names of African-American and Latino politicians, law enforcement officials, waendesha mashitaka, and judges who supported these reforms, but it would be easier and a lot less names to read if I tell you the ones who did not. Just figure, Al Sharpton has been working for the FBI for decades. After speaking with H. Rap Brown, it seems Martin Luther King Jr. had Jesse Jackson around because he did not trust him. Every black politician in Washington during the 80s and 90s championed these reforms. I could go on. Al Gonzalez, U.S. Attorney General and George W. Bush’s White House lawyer was for military commissions and immigration reform that were both held illegal and unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Hata hivyo, I will say this, Clarence Thomas, you know him, the butt of all black politicians’ jokes, the house negro, the lawn jockey, held the crack law was unconstitutional from the outset and champions the legal prospect that judges cannot find elements of crimes to enhance sentences and that defendants’ prior convictions, which increase a defendant’s sentence astronomically, must be found by a reasonable doubt and be place in a defendant’s indictment.

New Laws
These new laws coming out merely fix the unconstitutional laws passed three decades ago.

  1. 85% – The SRA (Sentencing Reform Act) got rid of parole and now you do 85% of your time. This has been increased per BOP (Ofisi ya Magereza) formula and you only receive 47 days good time a year. Juu ya 10 years you do an extra 3 months in prison and that is if you have no mandatory minimum. Good luck with that being so. If you have a mandatory minimum, you would do 9 years and 4 months of that 10-year bid. They now want to pass a law that grants you 57 days good time. Pia, they want to make the mandatory minimum optional, except for drug enterprises [848(a)] and make it where you can earn up to 10 days good time for every 100 days of satisfactory programming. So it is now possible to do twenty years and one month on a 30-year bid.
  2. 924(c) – Under 924 (c) (1) (C) if you violate 924 (c) (1) (A), do the time, get out, and violate again, you get a 25-year mandatory minimum. For those who do not know what 924 (c) ni, it is the firearms statute. They use this if you commit a violent crime or sell drugs using a firearm. The big joke is you do not have to be found guilty of the violent crime or drug distribution for this to apply. A person would get convicted of several 924(c) violations in one indictment. That person would then receive a consecutive 25-year mandatory minimum for each subsequent violation, also known as stacking. So if you sell to an undie [undercover agent] strapped three times, you would be looking at a 55-year mandatory minimum. Ndiyo, I know you were never convicted before under 924(c). How can they do that? Vizuri, they want to change this to mean what it should mean.
  3. Crack – my favorite- Sawa, scientifically, cocaine and crack are the same. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has hinted that any disproportionate ratio is unconstitutional. Congress wants to change it to 1:1 but some hard legs will only bend to 18:1. They say people who use crack tend to rob people to get the money to buy crack so crack is more violent than cocaine- huh?85% of crack offenders are black. That is a fact! So instead of making crack two or three times worse than cocaine, they make it eighteen times more severe. They want to make this retroactive. Oh, but you have to write your judge to see if you deserve this “leniency”. SMH!
  4. Priors – If you cop to a State misdemeanor, be careful. It may be used as a prior felony conviction against you in the feds. Pia, they may consider an expunged juvenile violation as a qualifying felony or a crime that does not have an element of violence or force as a qualifying violent crime. And society asks why prisons are overcrowded. This new law will look to correct some of this. Also to remedy a mandatory life provision pursuant to your priors. Life would now be 35-years. SMH. Ndiyo, for a non-violent crime. Second-degree murder in some states is 35-years, however in the feds, it’s less. WTF?!

My Suggestions

  1. 2A1.1– A section under the U.S. Guidelines that says a jury can find me not guilty of a murder but a judge can still sentence me based on the acquitted conduct. Most of the times an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) will charge you with a conspiracy to sell drugs, prove it to a jury, then at sentencing, tell the judge you murdered someone to sell these drugs and a judge says, “vizuri, it’s more likely than not” and you get mandatory life. Not only is this in violation of several constitutional guarantees, this is routinely done.
  2. Elements as sentencing factors – The reason a judge cannot find you guilty and sentence you based on aggravated assault when you illegally possessed stolen property is because you cannot make an element a sentencing factor. Vizuri, in the feds they do. In the feds, like stated before, you can get convicted for drugs and be sentenced on murder, obstruction of justice, possession of a weapon, being a leader, a greater drug amount, a host of prescribed crimes. Crimes that the 5th Amendment guarantees that I get notice of through an indictment, but do not.
  3. Reverse Stings – This tops the cake. The ATF pays informants to create bogus criminal scenarios so they can bust people. They provide the crime, the gun, the means and ways, and lock you up for being dumb enough to fall for it. Most defendants were not even thinking of doing these things until the informant talks them into it. Ndiyo, this happens regularly.
  4. Brady Violations – This is prosecutorial misconduct. If you read all of this, you should be like wow! How could I win? Uh, you can’t. But even still, there are prosecutors who go out of their way to hide, taint and manipulate evidence and witnesses. It is so bad one judge, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski stated it was an epidemic in America! SMH. If you are guilty, why do prosecutors have to do this?
  5. NjamaSandra Day O’Connor stated the conspiracy law is being used incorrectly. It is a scalpel not a broad sword. Section 846 is nicknamed the nuclear option. George H.W. Bush stated if they prosecuted his son using it, per the savings and loan scandal, he would show Americans how it was unconstitutional. This was in the early 90s. SMH. They are still using it.

Katika kufunga, I would like to state how a life sentence for a non-violent crime is cruel and unusual, but there are so many ways for an AUSA to manipulate an indictment to run 3 twenty-years sentences consecutively it would be futile to stress. What is not futile to stress is the male is missing from many households. This has directly affected the community and our nation. A lot more than The Safe Justice Act (H.R. 2944), The Corrections Act (S. 467) na The Smarter Sentencing Act (S. 1410) needs to be done to begin overhauling our criminal justice system and healing our communities.

This is Live from Lockdown!

Eric Van Buren

Author of The Art of Winning Litigation


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