Watch the video CAN-DO and Earthstream created of Craig’s daughter Lauren asking for her father to be set free.
Craig was on the Clemency and Justice Reform Radiothon and due to the prison phone time limitation, was not able to finish, so here is the rest of the story:
I’m Craig Cesal, and have been serving a life without the possibility
of parole sentence since March, 2002. Although even the prosecutor
admits I’ve never bought, sold, grew, or even smoked marijuana, I
stand convicted of conspiracy to distribute marijuana. The charge
of conspiracy often reaches those not committing actual crime.
I owned a Chicagoland shop repaired trucks for a Florida company that trafficked
marijuana from Mexico to Florida and Georgia. Sometimes the trucks
were damaged smuggling pot in the walls, and my body shop repaired them.
The conspiracy charge means that I agreed with them for them to commit a crime
Conspiracy is often proven at trial when a government witness testifies
that they made an agreement with the defendant to commit the crime. Under
current law, these witnesses are paid money to testify, or their charges are
dropped, or their sentences are reduced. The people who made statements
against me were never charged in exchange. Even though I was 42 years old
when arrested, with no criminal history except a $150 ticket for trespassing
in 1981, I was sentenced to life under the marijuana law.
Under federal law, violent crimes, other than murder, generally carry up to
20 years in prison. Marijuana charges, like all drug charges, carry up to life
imprisonment, even for first time offenders like me. The long sentences were
enacted to fight the War on Drugs, but drugs haven’t disappeared. It is sentences
like mine, and my history, that Congress and the President should consider when
deciding whether to grant relief to federal prisoners. The average sentence
served in America for murder is 12.3 years….I have already served over 14 years
and my daughter still awaits me.
Sign Craig Cesal’s change.org petition – he has over 137,000 sigs and counting.