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Ervin Darnell Worthy – Letter To President Obama

MONDAY, MAY 11, 2009

To the President of the United States:

Your petitioner, Ervin Darnell Worthy, is a citizen of the United States, incarcerated in the Allenwood, Federal Correctional Institution, P. O. Box 2000, and White Dear PA. 17887. I respectfully pray for your Excellency to grant my petitioner for clemency.

I, Ervin Darnell Worthy, aver there do exist compelling reasons in my case to grant clemency: (a) Is the Mandatory Minimum nature of my life sentence due to two prior State convictions, which required me to be sentenced to the Minimum and Maximum of Title 21 U.S.C. §841;. (b) The non-parole-able stipulation of Title 21 U.S.C. §841 drug statute;(c) More critically is the non-retroactivity of the Constitutional case laws and Procedural laws deriving from the Supreme Court. This leaves me with no redress of issue(s) or remedy for relief. Unfortunately, I have filed several post-conviction motions to challenge my conviction and sentence, but to no avail.

Surely, the severity of my life sentence for a non-violent drug conspiracy has caused a great devastation and impact on my life, family, friends and community. While serving 13 years in prison and at the age of 43, it has become a dreadful reality to me that the chance of returning to my family, friends, and community is very narrow especially, for a nonviolent crime. Which is very difficult to be understood by many people.

Mr. President, Sir, I have no way of relief, only through your executive authority to grant me clemency. Seriously, Mr. President you are my last option, for me to redeem my life and get a second chance, that I may rectify the wrong I have done to my family, friends and community. You could give me the precious opportunity to develop a relationship that leads to marriage and ultimately a child (or children), since I am 43 years of age childless at this stage of life. I would like an opportunity: to be a strong voice for our youth of tomorrow. I would also like the opportunity again to be a productive citizen and be an asset to my family, friends, and community and to myself.

Reflecting over the genesis of my life style of drug dealing, there were things I never consciously thought about. I never thought about what I was really doing to my family and friends. I never thought about what I was doing to my community nor to myself by selling drugs and destroying human lives. The power and effects of the drugs, how it tore people lives a part both mentally and physically. The things it made them do to get high, such as stealing, killing, robbing and more. Yet I continued to sell them drugs. The lives that were ruined and the people that died while I was selling drugs. The cause of crack babies being born and dying while I was selling drugs. However, this may sound odd, but through all of this, one thing I didn’t like was selling drugs to females. Something deep down inside would bother me. I use to question them about what they were doing too themselves pleading with them to stop smoking crack, but I continued to sell. Unconsciously, I was wrecking homes and families, taking food off the table and being one of the main plagues to the struggling family structure. All of this I was apart of to earn big and fast money. This is what shocked my consciousness and changed my perception on everything.

Consequently, after being incarcerated and seriously thinking about this, along with listening to individual’s plights in struggling with the drug epidemic. It reminded me of some people that was and is close to me. A lady friend I once dated and a best friend of mine struggle with the addiction and a brother continuously struggle with using drugs. I’ve seen how it has torn their lives apart. I thank God to this day that I never fell victim to using, yet it does not make me any better for selling illegal drugs.

While watching television specials on the crack epidemic and sitting in on a drug counseling classes it further educated me about what I was really into. It dawned on me like a rude awakening that I was a part of a very serious problem. My incarceration has saved my life. My chance of death was high and being incarcerated helped me to recognize the value of human life.

Without thinking, I was swept up into the drug culture vacuum, fresh out of high school (graduated 1984) and naive searching for my social and economic status in the community at large. Along with the rapid social-economic and political changes. The devastation of the crack-cocaine era, introduce in the mid 1980’s, wreck havoc on the urban inner cities of America. As a young African-American male of the inner-city Akron, Ohio, drug trafficking participation was highly influential. I was compelled to enter into the darkness of the new drug era and epidemic, only to earn fast money…

The economic instability and poverty level at that time and according to statistic were very high and played a significant part in the poverty levels in the inner-cities of Ohio. The limited accessibility of gainful employment compelled me to devise away to make end meet, to provide for myself, to meet the demands of the cost of living in my community. For example; when I was working for my family construction business at it lowest peak as a roofer, which is seasonal work, only catching jobs here and there trying to attend school at the same time, plus trying to find steady employment else where, but to no success. I am not pointing the finger at no one else, but myself. I want to state the facts of my mental state at that time which was not about the future; it was only about then… Yes, it is correct, that I did have a choice to indulge or not to indulge in this illegal activity. I humbly and consciously admit I made the wrong choice. Now I am paying the consequences for that wrong choice. I take full responsibility of all the choices and decisions I made at that time. For example, I had good employment in New York City working for now JP Morgan /Chase Manhattan Bank, the main branch located on Wall Street. I made a decision to leave New York and come back to Akron, Ohio and that is when I started to deal illegal drugs to earn money.

Mr. President over the past 13 years of my incarceration I have remorsefully come into the realization of my misperception of the moral responsibility surrounding my lifestyle of drug dealing. The things and lives around me that I took for granted and jeopardized. The pain and suffering I caused my parents, (which passed away during my incarceration), other family members, friends, associates and my community by participating in such a demoralizing activity. If I could personally ask for forgiveness to all that I sold drugs to I would, many times over. Now I can only pray to God to accept my admission of guilt and ask you to grant me the opportunity to right my wrongs. I remorsefully regret this mentality and action of myself and the devastation I caused to my community and country.

One of my future plans, if given the opportunity to return back to my community, I would support and coach (as I once did), a youth basketball league of the local recreational community centers. My focus would be to educate them about life and the illegal drug culture, whereby they will not make the same mistake that I did and to educate them about how it can ruin their lives as well as others.

Now thinking of the epiphany of my plight and the reasons surrounding my incarceration, I have been focusing on my rehabilitation and educating of myself. I am also cognitive of the emotional and financial burden and cost to my family and community (as tax paying citizens) and the Bureau of Prison to house me yearly between $20,000 to $30,000. Theoretically, speaking, if I was guaranteed a job paying the same amount that it cost to house me in the Bureau of Prison. Taking a percentage of this cost for 6 to 18 months and redistributing these funds towards my post incarceration reentry cost of living, coupled with my rehabilitation achievement. It is highly possible that I could live a productive life as a tax paying citizen.

The Sentencing Disparity – The disparity issues in my particular case are centered on the Mandatory Minimum nature of the life sentence, which I received from the statutory stipulations of Title 21 U.S.C § 841 sentencing Penalties section. This section required me to be sentence accordingly because of two minor prior State convictions. (For which I was sentenced to State probation for). This type of sentence is more suitable for an importer like major cartel suppliers, King pins of drug organization and violent drug organization. Not a non-violent mid-level to low street dealer as myself. Where the street dealers rely heavily on these individuals to import the drugs into country then into the inner cities. For example: Pedro Lara “king pin” testifying witness for the government in my trial, who was a major supplier and transporter of the drugs into the Akron/Cleveland area. He was only sentenced to 60 months or less in prison for this activity. The §841 statute was designed to target big and major dealers other than myself. The harshness of a life sentence does not suit my level of participation in this crime. Moreover the 13 years I have served on this life sentence is sufficient time served due to my level of participation in this crime.

In conclusion, Mr. President for the reasons stated above and the non-violent nature of my crime, commutation of my life sentence, would be reasonable or for me to return to my community would be reasonable.

I, Ervin Darnell Worthy, your petitioner respectfully pray that all the reasons stated above be taken into consideration to grant this clemency petition.

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