Christopher Smith – 30 years – reduced to 20 years – Vicodin

NAME:  Christopher Smith – # 12310-041
DOB:  1/28/1980
RACE:  Caucasian
AGE:  39
WILL RELEASE:  Burnsville, Minnesota
CHARGES:  Conspiracy to Distribute Prescription Drugs over Internet
LENGTH OF SENTENCE:  Original 30 years; Reduced on Appeal to 20 years.
SERVED:  14 years
PRIORS:   None
PRISON CONDUCT:  Excellent work reports, numerous ACE courses
CLEMENCY STATUS:  Pending since 2018
SUPPORTERS:  CAN-DO Foundation, Family and Friends
ACCOMPLISHMENTS:  Challenge Program, ACE Courses

According to Chris:
At the age of 25 years old, I was arrested and charged with selling prescription drugs over the internet.  Not understanding the law and being new to the criminal justice system, I rejected a government plea offer for 3 years in prison for selling legal prescription drugs over the internet.  I rejected that offer because I believed what I was doing was not illegal. A Doctor inserted me as the middle man to handle internet sales only he was not physically examining the patients. He knew what he was doing was wrong, but I was not privy what he was doing.

It was not long before I found out how wrong I was.  I proceeded to trial and was convicted.   Never being in jail before, as my sentencing day approached, I was more fearful than I can ever explain in words.  Being there was an offer of 3 years in prison, I still thought that my worse case scenario would be about 5 years in prison. The Doctor of course took a plea bargain and testified against me.

That was not to be – when I appeared before the judge, he sentenced me to 30 years.  In that very moment my heart started beating so fast I thought it would explode.  My thoughts went to my Mom and Dad, and then my 5-year-old son Mason, what would they do without me, and me without them.

I could not understand how the government could offer a 3 year sentence finding it was sufficient for my crimes, but because I exercised my right to trial, was given a 30 year sentence. 

My Dad that I thought about instantly when I was sentenced, is now dying.  My dreams to go fishing with him one more time, or to simply hug him again and let him know I love him are slowly fading away.  My 5 year old son Mason, is now 17 years old, and my hope is to see him graduate.  My mother is hanging in there.

My hope is that President Trump would bestow his grace on me, and allow me to watch my son graduate, allow me to hug my Dad again before the Lord calls him home, and allow me the chance to be the son my mother deserves, the son I was meant to be.

Failure is not an option.  My father invented the diaper decks seen in rest stops.  He wants me to run his business as his time left here is short.  Never again will I let him down in life or death.

Just Mercy is what I am asking President Trump for, Just Mercy.

Amy Ralston Povah is a clemency recipient under President Clinton, an award winning filmmaker, and founder of the CAN-DO Foundation.