Amy Povah started CAN-DO to not only promote and spotlight people seeking clemency, she included her desire to educate the public about the conspiracy law in the CAN-DO mission statement. It hasn’t been easy because reporters typically have never heard about it and/or don’t understand it enough to want to research it thoroughly. Conspiracy to murder dates back to 1861, but in 1994, in U.S. V Shabani, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that no “overt act” element is required under the federal drug conspiracy statute, 21 U.S.C. section 846.
On April 29, 2016, Lauren Krisai, Director of criminal justice reform at Reason Foundation, wrote How Conspiracy Laws Let Prosecutors Abuse Their Power Any meaningful criminal justice reform must include
a reexamination of these draconian policies.
In this article, Krisai does a fabulous job explaining how the conspiracy law can ensnare minor participants in a drug related activity in an effort to force their cooperation, or hold them responsible for the actions of other drug dealers up and down the chain of a larger drug enterprise. The only way to escape indictment, is to become a working informant – as was the edict given to CAN-DO Founder Amy Povah (formerly Amy Pofahl) due to her then husband, Sandy Pofahl’s Ecstacy organization. The only way to receive a sentence reduction is if a cooperating witness provides “substantial assistance.” The article starts off with Amy’s case:
Amy Povah was just 30 years old when she was sentenced to 24 years in federal prison for a drug crime she didn’t even commit herself. The crime—manufacturing a large amount of ecstasy in both the United States and Germany—was committed by her then-husband, Sandy Pofahl. Her lengthy prison sentence was based on the entire amount of ecstasy Pofahl manufactured, even though five co-defendants provided affidavits stating Amy was not involved in his drug trade.