On November 19, 2015, the CAN-DO Foundation performed it’s second annual White House Vigil for the many prisoners profiled on our website. The Associated Press interviewed Jason Hernandez, the first Latino to receive clemency from President Obama and the video was posted on the USA Today website.
Unfortunately, when AP interviewed Jason CAN-DOers were holding up posters of Pot Lifers that were the focus of filmmaker Jeff Eichman for a documentary he’s producing called “LIFERS.”
Later, we held up posters of many prisoners who fit the dialogue Jason was sharing with the press in the USA Today link above – regarding the disparity of crack cocaine laws in the 90s that harshly impacted people of color, but by that time, the AP cameraman had captured his “B-role” of primarily all white pot lifers and left.
CAN-DO believes anyone serving a long sentence for a non-violent drug crime deserves clemency and we will continue to fight for our brothers and sisters who have been locked up for decades – many as first time offenders. Most people don’t know the conspiracy law causes a defendant to be sentenced based on the testimony of other co-conspirators who cut a deal in order to escape mandatory sentences that are only reserved and applied toward those who go to trial or who are unwilling or unable to give “substantial assistance.” This is what AG Holder referred to as the “trial penalty” phase that needs to be changed. People should not be punished for exercising their 6th Amendment right to a trial, but that’s who receives 10 years to Life Without Parole. In conspiracy cases, one person is held responsible for the actions of all the other co-conspirators and the drugs they either sold, manufactured, smuggled, and/or were willing to claim they were involved with, when they are seeking a reduction of sentence based on their “substantial assistance” performance.
*Amy garnered media exposure for Ramona Brant by teaming up with Casey Tolan of Fusion, who wrote about Ramona’s case and filmed her when she walked out of prison, in Brooklyn NY. She also served time with Angie Jenkins and spent many days with Angie in the law library. These three women are bonded for life due to their mutual struggle and ongoing commitment to help others go free. Together, we CAN-DO this.