Anthony Brown -- #825517

20 years -Marijuana Conspiracy

Anthony Brown, prisoner of the drug war
There is not much to the story of my 'crime'. I was being booked into jail on a misdemeanor assault charge for being in a fist fight. The Drug Task Force officer that arrested me found a storage unit company keycard in my wallet with the number 125 it. The company was located in another town, next to the one I was being booked in.

The officer took the card and went to get a drug-sniffing canine unit, went to the storage unit without a search warrant, and let the dog 'sniff out' the door. The officer said in court that the dog alerted to the presence of drugs in the unit, obtained a warrant, and found approximately 486 grams of marijuana inside (a little over a pound).

The charge was supposed to carry six months to two years, but because I had been to before (1982 and 1990), they enhanced my sentence range up to a possible 20 years when they indicted me.

I was offered a plea bargain of 10 years for this small amount of marijuana, and when I refused to accept, they took me to trial, convicted me, and gave me the maximum of 20 years and over $10,000 in fines.

They convicted me on circumstantial evidence; they said they found one fingerprint on 20 trash bags that they claimed were used to wrap the marijuana in. The bags were not introduced in court, and no fingerprints were found on the bags that actually contained the marijuana.

The officer that had claimed to find the marijuana had a grudge against me; he falsely accused me of shooting at him in 1990. I spent three years in a county jail waiting to go to trial on that charge, because I wasn't able to post the $500,000 bond. I would not plead guilty to that trumped-up charge, and the jury in that case acquitted me.

I have been in state prison for over five years now on the marijuana charge. I hope for parole soon, but this is Texas, and the parole board here rarely releases people. Prisons are big business in this state.