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Why Is Clarence Aaron In Prison?

Submitted by on June 18, 2012 – 9:13 am2 Comments

Back in 1993, Clarence Aaron was a 23 year-old college student and athlete. One summer, two groups of Aaron’s not-so-trustworthy friends (and even a family member) propositioned the young man.

These groups were both involved in drug sales. However, they did not know or trust each other, but both were interested in a transaction. Of course, they decided to involve the guy they all had in common: Clarence Aaron.

He brought the two groups together to do what they had come to do in exchange for $1,500.
He’s been paying the price from that day forward.

Aaron had no prior arrests (not even a traffic violation), but got the harshest sentence out of any of the guys involved in the transaction. That sentence was three concurrent life sentences.

Why such a harsh sentence? Aaron admits that he has some responsibility for the illegal activity, as he set the two groups up. However, he did not actually buy, sell, or even see any drugs and was not given details of the transaction whatsoever. He was there simply to make sure that everything went smoothly.

After posting bond, Aaron went back to school. Over the weeks and months that followed, all of those “friends” (and the cousin), conspired against Aaron and pinned the whole situation on him, claiming that he was something like a drug kingpin. Somehow, although he never saw any drugs or money, the 20 year-old found himself accused of holding 9 kilos of crack cocaine with the attempt to distribute.

He had been asked to take a plea bargain, but refused because he did not know any details and could not give any information in return for a lighter sentence.

Aaron had an audience with the Bush administration and could have been pardoned, but the administration was not given all of the facts in the case. Now, it’s up to President Obama.

However, the real question is, why has this man been locked up in the first place when there was absolutely no evidence of drug possession on Aaron’s part, and certainly not the specific amount (9 kilos) that he is charged of?

Our legal system very obviously needs to be completely revamped. It disproportionately puts young black men in prison for life or for extended sentences despite lack of evidence, is more favorable to whites than people of color, and in many cases, does not even consider the evidence.

How about we go from that system to this one?

Are we not fed up enough to agitate until the system is restructured? Things won’t ever get any better until we do.

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