Name: Ronnie Lauderdale
Clemency #: 288213
Race: African American
Marital Status: Married – 30 years
Children: 2 Children; 1 son deceased; 1 daughter
Will Live: Arkansas w/ wife of 30 years
Upbringing: Clarksdale, Arkansas
Trial or Plea: Went to trial and found guilty.
Charges: 21 U.S.C. § 841, 846 & 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)
Sentence: Life Plus 30 years
Served: 14 years
Release Date: Never, absent President Trumps mercy.
Prior: Non-Violent Drug Offense
Prison Conduct: 1 Write up in 14 years
Clemency Status: Pending; Denied by Obama in 2013.
Supporters: CAN-DO Foundation, Friends and Family, Chad Marks, Chris Hunter, Jimmy Romans, and Lisa Jacobi
Institution: FMC Lexington
Accomplishments: Excellent work record, Creative Writing, Electrical Classes, Vocational Tech-Carpentry, Spin Class, Assist Sick and Elderly Prisoners, Fix All Oxygen Concentrators, Portable Oxygen Machines, C-Pap Machines, Defibrillator Humidifiers.
In Ronnie’s Own Words:
At the age of 49, I was arrested and charged with non-violent drug crimes. My case was dismissed at one point and I was ordered released from custody due to legal violations. The Government before I was released secured a second indictment. The case went to trial and there was a hung jury. During those deliberations the judge at the time made comments that I was doing good, but the next trial would not be so kind because the jury would likely be all white. The government then took the case back to trial and by this time my funds were almost depleted. In the end, I was found guilty and sentenced to life under the 851 statute. An additional 30 years was added to the life sentence for a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g).
Most recently President Trump passed the First Step Act. Part of that legislation had some criminal justice reform in there. Specifically, the life sentences under 851 were eliminated and capped at 25 years. If I were sentenced under that law, I would not be serving a life sentence. Most recently the Supreme Court also made clear that the charge for which I was sentenced to an additional 30 years to 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) that the government had to prove an element of mens rea. Given this change in law that conviction would be and should be vacated.
There is no doubt that there must be punishment for those who commit crimes, but I don’t think life sentences for non-violent drug crimes are right. I have a family that I love and care for. Since my incarceration I lost my son to a massive heart attack. This is something that I can never repair. I still have my daughter, wife and grandchildren. My hope is that President Trump would bestow his grace on me, and allow me to be reunited with the people I love in my last days. Recently I have been diagnosed with a serious disease. I live in a medical unit with men that are dying in prison. My job is to fix the machines that they need to live. I do all I can to encourage them to stay strong to keep pushing. The sad part is that I see many of these men die, and it hurts. My biggest fear is that I to will die in prison alone, away from my family, right here in the housing unit that I live in.