Name: Michael Montalvo #87224-012
DOB: February 9, 1946
Race: Human – Caucasian
Marital Status: Married
Children: Two daughters, Alexis, Rebecca – both have children making Michael a Grandfather
Grandchildren: Three Grandchildren
Raised: Los Angeles, CA until 10, then Wash DC
Tried: Northern District of California
Will live: Magalia, CA
Charge: Continuing criminal enterprise from 1983 to 1986, non-violent, no firearms,
Sentence: Mandatory minimum Life without parole
Started sentence on day of arrest: May 19, 1987
Served: 32 years
Priors: Minor drug offense
Prison Conduct: 30 years without incident. Model prisoner, completed over 100 BOP programs, (see Accomplishments)
Supporters: Family and Institution staff, November Coalition, CAN-DO,
Clemency Status: Filed July 25, 2014, CP14 submitted, denied by President Obama and resubmitted – currently pending C273549
Update on 6/7/2018: 2014 approved by Unit Team, Staff and Warden for Compassionate release as recommended to director of BOP. Warden and Staff support release since 2014. FYI; 6 BOP supervisor letters to the Judge supporting release at 1994 re-sentence.
FCI Phoenix, 37910 N 45TH AVE
PHOENIX, AZ 85086
Accomplishments: Michael has served 31 years without any incident report. Model prisoner. Graduated from 70 BOP programs. Worked in the education department, where he received awards for tutoring and mentoring younger men and those with mental health issues. He also worked in the law library where he assisted others in filing motions. Mike obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business as well as a law degree (Juris Doctor) while incarcerated.
Supporters: Family, friends and BOP staff. November Coalition. CAN-DO Foundation.
According to Michael:
History: I was born Feb 9th 1946 in LA. My father died when I was only 5 years old and my mom had to raise me alone. She took me to Arlington VA where she made a career in the State Department. I graduated from Georgetown Prep, a very good school that has provided several Supreme Court Justices. I served in the United States military from 1966 to 1972 during the Vietnam war. I earned an E-5 rating and received an honorable discharge. I then went to college in California on the GI Bill. After college, I got involved with small businesses in the 1970s and lived a normal life. In the early 1980s marijuana and cocaine became very popular in California for adult recreational use, and from1983 to June 1986 I made a series of terrible choices that led me to get involved in drugs with a few friends. By August 1986, I had decided to change my life and ways. I gave up my involvement with drugs, focused on my family, began a new advertising business, and I was going in a positive direction. But in 1987, the younger brother of a good friend was arrested in Montana for growing marijuana and possessing firearms. To avoid years in prison, he gave federal agents narratives about drug activities in Northern California from 1983 to June 1986. As a result of his claims, I was arrested in May 1987 for a defunct cocaine conspiracy allegedly running from 1983 to June 1986. I was arrested leaving my mother`s house on her 72nd birthday. No drugs were seized, there was no surveillance, wiretaps, and no documented sale of any drugs. The amounts of drugs used to determine my sentence were based ONLY on the historical testimony of the brother of a friend who had been arrested in Montana for an unrelated crime
Instead of accepting a plea deal, I exercised my right to a trial. In 1989, I was convicted on the conflicting testimony of three informants who were offered reduced sentences for their testimony about drug activity that had occurred 5-6 years earlier. Because I used my right to a jury trial, I suffered the “trial penalty” and the prosecutor asked for a life sentence based on estimated drug amounts from one informant`s claims. What is referred to as “ghost drugs”. Before trial the prosecutor said the offense deserved about 15 years. My codefendants received 10, 15, and 18 year sentences and all of them have been free for decades
I have accepted responsibility for my conduct and my terrible choices in the 1980s that led to this conviction. I appealed because my lawyer and I felt my life sentence was unreasonable and illegal. Under current law, the sentence for the same offense is 235 to 293 months. Unfortunately, my sentence cannot be revised now because of laws passed in 1996 that limit the time to challenge and correct a sentence to one year. The new laws that have reduced the penalty for an offence like mine are not retroactive.
My past 32.5 years in prison have changed me in a positive way. I look at my mistakes of 35 years ago and I can clearly see my recklessness and faulty thinking. I deeply regret the pain I have caused my family and loved ones. I have tried to better myself and learn as much as possible while in prison so I can help my fellow prisoners prepare themselves to be responsible and contributing members of society when they return to the free world. I can only hope and pray that I may also be given the chance to contribute my painfully acquired knowledge and experience to society outside those bars. Redemption is a word that defines those of us who desperately want a second chance in life to redeem our errors. I reconnected with my faith while in prison, and for 32.5 years, I have tried to show Our Lord, my family and society through my daily conduct that I sought redemption, that I had learned from my past mistakes and that I am capable of contributing something of value to society. I continue to teach and to assist prisoners in staying positive, changing their attitudes, avoiding violence and improving their lives even within the confines of prison. I now pray that I will be allowed to make a contribution in the outside world as well. My family has been waiting for me for a long, long time, but my only chance of returning to them and meeting the grandchildren I have never seen, is if President Trump is touched by compassion and grants me Clemency
Mike has served 32.5 years under very harsh conditions in maximum security penitentiaries around the US. Mike was designated high security in spite of his perfect conduct ONLY because he is serving a LIFE sentence. Many of his work supervisors in prison, as well as CO’s and Warden Carvajal recommended him for Compassionate Release in 2014 based on his good conduct and advancing age. Compassionate release was denied based on the program statement policy that pre-1987 non parolable LIFE sentence precludes compassionate release in any circumstances. Clemency appears to be the last and only chance Michael Montalvo has not to die in prison.