Cynthia Clark -- #09257-017

30 Years - Crack Cocaine Conspiracy

Cynthia Clark, prisoner of the drug war
Cynthia grew up in Havana, Florida in a large, poor family. Most of the kids where she lived didn't finish high school, she did. In preparation for a career in law enforcement, Cynthia attended Lively Law Enforcement Academy, and received a certificate of completion. It was early 1991, she was a single working woman, raising a young daughter, and hadn't had so much as a traffic ticket.

There have been years to reflect, and today Cynthia isn't sure if it was love, or if she was lured by the new boyfriend, flashing cash, sharing when hers was short. It hadn't been easy growing up poor, but it was easy to be a wealthy man's girlfriend. She reminds her friends on the outside, "the guys don't tell us they are crack dealers."

Dreams of police work vanished when she found out she was in love with a drug dealer. She participated in a delivery, wired money as directed by Stanley, and Stanley was generous. She struggled with her values, but got busted before she could come to her senses, and dump the drug dealing boyfriend, and be a cop, instead.

In March of 1991, Stanley and Cynthia were arrested after Stanley sold $5,700 worth of crack cocaine to undercover agents. Cynthia was in Stanley's car, which made her part of the drugs sold, and in his possession. She'd participated a few times, which made her just as guilty as they'd find Stanley to be. Enough people talked in the broad conspiracy by the time talk got to Stanley, that he would face 5 Kilos worth of charges. Cynthia, his new girlfriend would face the same amount of prison time, even though she didn't control the business, but simply did as her boyfriend told her to do.

Cynthia Clark with her family
If the way the sentencing system works in drug cases is a surprise to you, it was a surprise to her public defender, too. In a letter presented to President Clinton in support of a Christmas pardon in 2000 she wrote, "The case was my first federal trial. The guidelines were new at that time. Not every lawyer knew of the harsh application of the Pinkerton liability."

Cynthia's daughter grew from 7 years old into womanhood with children of her own. If Cynthia were tried today, the Pinkerton sentencing enhancements would not apply, and the judge would not be restrained by mandates, but by a broader range of sentencing guides. Cynthia would be home long before year 2017, and not imprisoned today.

Her friends write in support of her, "Cynthia Clark is a loving, kind-hearted woman who's life today revolves around what she can do to express the love the Lord gives to her each day. She's not a drug king-pin and did not deserve the 30 year sentence she received, and if sentenced today would have received decades less time! Cynthia went to trial because she wanted to defend herself against the charges of being a drug kingpin in possession of a gun."

Today from prison she urges young women to drop drug dealing boyfriends and choose values that matter -- family, honest work, and taking pleasure in things that won't destroy lives. She also urges citizens to become involved in re-examining drug and sentencing laws that do more harms than good.

Cynthia Clark with her family
The police knew Cynthia didn't have information beyond a few of Stanley's customers they already knew about, and there wasn't information to trade. She was never offered a 'plea deal,' to exchange information about others for less time in prison.

"I didn't need 30 years to bring me to regret not leaving Stanley the moment I found out he wasn't working an honest job," Cindy insists and explains, "Just Say No needs to be more than about drugs. Just say no to having more than what we need, is a message that would help keep people away from drugs."