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January 12, 2008
Carlos Cuevas-Morales -- 25 years already served on 50-year sentence for marijuana importation -- no parole allowed
Our father and uncle, Mr. Carlos Cuevas-Morales (#04336-069), is serving a 50-year, no-parole sentence, from an indictment naming only him. Mr. Cuevas was charged in 1983 with importation of 3663 pounds of marijuana and sale of 72 grams of cocaine, both nonviolent offenses.
He accepted responsibility for his actions and pled guilty to the charges. Mr. Cuevas has now been incarcerated for 25 years. He has a conditional release date set for 2013 -- when he will have served 30 consecutive years of incarceration without parole eligibility. He will be 66 years old at completion of his sentence. By rough comparison, this term served will be similar to one for life in prison or a sentence for murder in the first degree.
Terrorists, murderers, rapists, bank robbers, and other violent offenders seldom get sentenced to this amount of consecutive time in prison. This sentence is highly severe, excessively long, and disproportionate to the offense -- and is contrary to the Eight Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment. Excessive sentences are considered unconstitutional if thought to be grossly disproportionate to the offense.
Since his first day of incarceration, Mr. Cuevas has worked diligently to improve himself, pay his debt to society, and show sincere remorse. In these 25 years of incarceration, he has earned more than 50 letters of recommendation and educational certificates from different federal institutions. Now part of his prison file, copies are available upon request. He is also a Cardiac Clinic Inmate due to serious medical/health concerns.
Mr. Cuevas has earned a college degree in Business Administration and completed post-graduate studies in Insurance and Criminal Justice. This educational background, coupled with a place of residence and enduring family ties, will help him reenter society as a productive and useful member. Furthermore, he has been offered employment in the Miami area and Puerto Rico after his release.
The letter dated 04/25/03 from former U.S. District Attorney for Puerto Rico, Mr. Daniel Lopez-Romo, (see below) follows ours. At the time of Mr. Cuevas' arrest and conviction, Mr. Lopez-Romo was the Chief U.S. Prosecutor in charge of the Criminal Division in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Puerto Rico.
In this significant letter, Mr. Lopez-Romo discloses that the U.S. Attorney's Office did not honor his agreement with Mr. Cuevas for a 20-year sentence in exchange for his guilty plea. Lopez-Romo "was under the impression that Mr. Cuevas had been sentenced to 20 years." He requests "out of most sincere sense of justice and fair play, any efforts on his behalf in that the remaining period of confinement be pardoned, condoned, or set aside immediately." When Mr. Cuevas and his family first received this critical information, many years had elapsed, Carlos' appellate remedies exhausted.
We can understand society questioning Mr. Cuevas' credibility; after all he has a personal and compelling interest in the final outcome of this case. What we relatives fail to understand, however, is anyone questioning the credibility of a former Chief U.S. Attorney, a court officer whose reputation and integrity are considered beyond reproach.
When new and significant information -- as found in Mr. Lopez-Romo's letter -- affects the normal course of a criminal case, more punishment ceases to be necessary, and society should not insist on its continued application.
At the end of Lopez-Romo's letter, he states, "I strongly believe that he should be afforded the opportunity to return to his community and reestablish ties with his son, his family, and in particular, his elderly father, Mr. Andrés Cuevas, Sr. (who is in his mid 80's and who I know is quite ill), a father who has never given up on his efforts and hopes to see his son rejoin his family."
Sadly, on October 9, 2004, Mr. Andrés Cuevas, our grandfather, passed away.
At present, Mr. Cuevas has an executive commutation of sentence petition on file with the U.S. Pardon Attorney's Office in Washington, D.C. In light of the 25 years already completed, his conduct and program achievements, advanced age and serious medical/health concerns -- plus Mr. Lopez-Romo's letter -- we ask all who read this to intervene on Mr. Cuevas' behalf and help us succeed with the Pardon Attorney's Office.
We all make mistakes, but the most important thing is to rectify ourselves, something Mr. Cuevas has already demonstrated. Our father and uncle should not be punished any longer.
Carlos I. Cuevas, son
Maria Medina, niece
To write our dad and uncle:
Carlos Cuevas-Morales 04336-069
PO Box 779800
Miami, Florida 33177
Daniel F. Lopez-Romo
BankTrust Plaza, 255 Ponce de Leon, Suite 808
San Juan, PR 00918
To Whom It May Concern:
Re: Inmate Carlos W. Cuevas-Morales
The undersigned, former United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico (1982-1993), after months of soul searching and in the interest of justice state as follows:
I have known Mr. Carlos W. Cuevas-Morales since the early sixties, during my college years at the University of Puerto Rico. I am in no way related to him or any member of his family, nor have I ever represented him or any member of his family in any legal or personal matter.
I am writing this letter out of concern and dismay as a former prosecutor and the USA in charge during the period when Mr. Cuevas-Morales was indicted in violation of T21, Section 848, AKA (CCE).
I use the word "dismay" as it was not until early 2002 that I learned that he had been sentenced to a period of confinement of fifty years (50), and that to this date he has not been released.
It is noted that I vividly remember his case, and the fact that a former member of the Police of Puerto Rico (Lt. Julio Cesar Andrades) after being confronted with numerous organized crime ventures, extortions and cover-ups, decided to assist the US-DOJ in identifying members of our community who had been or were at the time involved in criminal conduct, in exchange for what turned out to be a sweetheart deal, and that the investigation was being controlled by what was called the Special Prosecutions Unit, a joint unit that was supervised by the Criminal Division of Main Justice and specifically the late Larry "Lippee".
I now recall that, in exchange for Mr. Cuevas-Morales' plea, I was informed that a recommendation of a 20 year sentence was made. Since then (1985) and until last year I was under impression that be had been so sentenced and that he had served around 15 years and was released.
Reading related motions, reports and pleadings, in order to further refresh my recollections, it is noted that at no time was I called by his defense counsel prior to his sentencing, as I had indirectly recused myself from the case by that time, in order to avoid any possible animosity from impairing my best judgement.
I therefore at this time join, out of a most sincere sense of justice and fair play, any effort on behalf of Carlos Cuevas-Morales, in that his remaining period of confinement be pardoned. condoned or set aside immediately.
It appears that he has already more than paid "his debt to society", and that his conduct as an inmate Has been exemplary.
I strongly believe that be should he afforded the opportunity to return to his community and reestablish his ties with his son, his family, and in particular his elderly father Don Andres Cuevas (who is in his mid-eighties and who I know is quite ill), a father that has never given up in his efforts and hopes to see his son rejoin his family.
Daniel F. Lopez-Romo
Juan M. Perez Gimenez
U.S. District Court
150 Carlos Chardon Ave
Hato Rey, PR 00918
Honorable Judge Perez Gimenez:
As I am sure you are aware of, Hogares CREA is an organization dedicated to helping drug addicts overcome their habits and readjust into society.
It has come to my attention the case of Carlos Cuevas MofaIes, who is currently serving a non-parolable 50 year term of incarceration for a nonviolent offense. I understand that Mr. Cuevas has already served 17 years in prison and his statutory release date is set for the year 2013. Considering Mr. Cuevas' age and physical impairments, his sentence will serve the same purpose as if he had been sentenced to life imprisonment.
Mr. Cuevas has worked diligently during all these years in prison, gaining certificates in computer science, suicide watch for inmates, drug counseling, high school and English as a second language tutor, life skills programs, translator of documents and guidelines as well as over 35 letter of recommendation.
Mr. Carlos Cuevas Morales has a Bachelor's and Master's degree from Catholic University in Ponce. He has close family ties and a place of residence; factors that will help him reenter society as a useful and productive member.
It has also been mentioned to me that Mr. Cuevas suffers from acute thrombophlebitis and high cholesterol. Because of these ailments he has been placed in the chronic care program,.
Hogares CREA can use, and in fact needs, persons with the qualifications of Carlos Cuevas Morales for its' programs in Puerto Rico. I believe that this Honorable Court could, within its' discretion, orientate Mr. Cuevas' abilities and scholastical background into helping the drug addicts in Puerto Rico by allowing him to work in Hogares CREA for that length of time that this Court deems reasonable.
Mr. Cuevas educational assets and outstanding Progress Reports obtained during his incarceration make him ideal candidate to help guide our drug addicts towards rehabilitation.
I, as President of Hogares CREA, submit this proposition to Your Honor's consideration and pray that you may give to it your most favorable evaluation.
I thank you for your time and attention, and wishing you the very best I remain,
Juan Jose Garcia Rios
President & Founder
Hogares CREA Internacional
Comunidad De Reeducacion De Adictos
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