Crishone Johnson -- #05809-084

20 Years -- Crack Cocaine Conspiracy

Crishone Johnson, prisoner of the drug war
The United States of America imprisons its citizens at rates three to ten times higher than other democratic societies. The sentencing laws are getting tougher and tougher. The prisons are crowded, dangerous, and have limited medical treatment. There is no "real" rehabilitation in this system. The prisons of the new millennium are set up for citizens to stay incarcerated for a very long time. The federal system is stopping mothers from raising their children. We need to stop relying on incarceration and give Federal inmates a second chance, and an education.

Thousands of people are incarcerated illegally and I am one of them. My name is Crishone Johnson, born and raised in Washington DC. I am a 37 year old African American female, and a first-time non-violent offender. I'm serving a 20- year sentence for Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Cocaine Base. My charge is out of the western District of Virginia, and I have served 8 and 1/2 years of my sentence. I have 9 years remaining on my sentence according to the justice system, but GOD has the last and final answer. I was charged with conspiracy, in order to have a conspiracy charge you must have conspired with two or more persons to commit a crime?

Yet, I had a two- day trial alone with no co-defendants. In my case the jury did not return a verdict of drug amounts or enhancements. The reason being there was no amount of drugs or enhancements in my indictment. My PSI states that I had only 5.32 grams, which is not even 1 ounce. However I was convicted based upon the Judge and Probation officer enhancing me up to 10 ounces of cocaine base, resulting in an offence level 34. I also received a two level enhancement for a firearm that I never possessed. That brought my base offence level up to 36. Not to mention an additional two criminal points for probation, to place me in a higher category while the PSI report was being prepared for sentencing.

The people that testified in my case were working with the US attorney and were known drug users, and they told lies in my case to get out of their own trouble. No evidence was submitted or proved to a jury or finder of fact beyond those charges in the indictment.

This is an illegal sentence under the Sixth Amendment New Ruling. My constitutional rights were violated. All the enhancements that the judge and probation officer made up in my case are improper and illegal under the Sixth Amendment. Under the new ruling I should have been sentenced to 12-18 months as opposed to the 240 months I received.

I was raised in a middle class home in Washington DC. My mother worked very hard to take care of her 2 children, giving us the best education, clothing, medical care, food, and housing. I took care of my little brother and the household chores while she worked, this taught me to be independent. Now my mother is taking care of my son. My mother is a wonderful, loving person and if it wasn't for her and God I would be insane inside these walls. The support her and my son gives me keeps me uplifted.

Crishone Johnson with her son Shomari
This is my first time in prison, and I know that I made a big mistake. I am a victim of the drug war, a single mother working and just trying to make it, take care of my child, bills and myself. I don't think that I deserve 20 years or more for the first time in prison. I feel as though I should be punished for what I did, but not for 20 years worth of time away from my child and family. This time is affecting our children; they're wondering when their mothers are coming home. My son asks all the time," Mommy when are you coming home?" I tell him one day soon, because I have faith in God and he will return me to my son and family. (Crishone with son Shamari at right)

The children of today are our future. The judicial system is not concerned how this affects them. Children need their parents, especially their mothers. We need to teach our children about this criminal justice system. Teach them about the corruption and abuse within prisons, and the wrongful convictions in the system. We need to be there for them, love them, let them know they are somebody and that they can be productive citizens. I have a child that is 14 years old, I have been physically absent from his life 8 and 1/2 years. I love my son dearly. Most feel abandoned by their parents, dealing with psychological complexes of desertion, and emotionally destroyed. Our Government views this as the right thing for our children and society?

Congress hasn't made the New Ruling in Blakely, Booker, and Shepherd retroactive to the people that have been sentenced illegally 20 years ago, why we have to wait for congress to rule if the Supreme Court stated that we were sentenced wrongfully? Why are the Judges not trying to correct these sentences? According to the new Supreme Court Ruling the Court has set new precedent requiring, other than the facts of prior conviction, any facts that increase the statutory maximum was defined as the maximum sentence that may be imposed by a Judge based solely on the facts reflected in the jury verdict. In thousands of cases, including mine, the facts were not proven to a jury, the facts were found by the Judge and the Probation Officer. How can this continue to go on and on? I'm asking for Justice.