Lawrence Main -- #02882-041

20 Years -- Methamphetamine Conspiracy

Lawrence Main, prisoner of the drug war
I would like to know why our leaders send mixed messages about human rights - criticizing China for scoffing at human rights and approving other countries for their lack of it. Let me take a bit of your time to tell you what our country did to my human rights.

Today, I am a man of 64, the father of three grown children, a grandfather of eight, and a great-grandfather of two. I am pictured here with my girlfriend of many years and my daughter who is now 12.

What brought us here today, and why I now decay in federal prison for 20 years, is because I was trying to be a good Samaritan.

I was having lunch with my 35-year-old daughter in 1992 when her landlord asked me for a ride down to a motel so he could see a friend that had come to town. It was a reverse sting operation set up by the DEA. The man in the motel was a federal agent, and had been calling my daughter's landlord for a year. It took a whole year for the agents to get this man to succumb to make a quick buck.

I was arrested in the sting, and we were both offered 8 years if we informed on one another. My daughter's landlord made a plea agreement for 10 years and told the prosecutors I didn't know anything about what was going on.

I went to a jury trial to prove my own innocence. What a farce. The government did whatever it took to fabricate a case against me, telling me and my attorney that we could always appeal later. The landlord and I were now codefendants, and he was threatened with an additional ten years if he testifies for me.

Appeals? You might as well spit in the wind. Regardless of how they put you in here, they won't let you out. I've appealed all the way to the top, but the Supreme Court would not hear my case. All the rulings have said, in essence, that the prosecutorial mistakes were "harmless errors" that would have made minimal effect. The Eighth Circuit Court called it "problematic."

Lawrence Main with his family
I am not alone in this. I know there are many cases such as mine. Justice has become "just us" -- it's just for them.

I've inked out my eye in this photograph with my family, because I used to have an eye there. While in county jail awaiting trial (drug defendants are seldom given bail because they are considered dangerous to the community), a 285-pound man crushed my face. I lost my upper teeth and my left eye. Twenty days later I went to trial, still half-crazed with pain, and I attempted to defend my life.

Please help us stop this war.