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Francisco Betancourt


25 Years for Conspiracy to Distribute & Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine

My name is Francisco; I am 43 years old and have been in prison since 1987. I am a non-violent first time offender serving time for a 9-kilos of cocaine . I have had clear prison conduct for the last 17 1/2 years, and have 4 years left to serve. My sentence was enhanced by 4 points, two for a gun that was found in the apartment I shared with four other people. I have never used a firearm in my life, and that gun wasn't mine. I asked for a fingerprint test but Judge Garrett Brown denied it, as he also denied the right to change lawyers, consequently I was left alone to defend myself for two and a half days asking and answering my own questions under the total stress of the lack of knowledge of the English language. I was therefore forced to rehire the same attorney.

What I am asking now is for fine to be vacated. My fine was $40,000.00 dollars with an annual interest of 18%, leaving me with a fine that is now $109,791.74 dollars. Unlike my co-defendant who's fine has been vacated and mine is still pending. The situation in my country every day worsens making it hard on my mother. My father recently passed away and my brothers have left home leaving my mother alone and without any economic help but mine. Most of my salary goes back to the prison for fines leaving not much to support my mother financially.

I have exhausted all legal remedies and unless there is change in our drug war policy I will not be released from prison until 2009. Although the sentencing enhancements in part have been declared unconstitutional, I am still serving extra time for the 4 point enhancements that were given to me against the constitution.

Due to my inexperience, lack of guidance, ignorance to the laws and culture of this country, I had become involved in behavior that led me to this place. I believe that I have dearly paid for my mistakes, I will probably not have the chance to establish a family or experience fatherhood.and believe that I deserve a second chance to do well in society.

Francisco Betancourt - 23866-053
FCI Fort Dix
PO Box 2000
Fort Dix, NJ 08640

Posted 5/31/05

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