Cody C. Matlack -- #10417-073

11 Years -- Methamphetamine Conspiracy

Cody Matlock, prisoner of the drug war
August 27, 1998

Dear November Coalition:

My name is Sunshine Martin, and I am writing on behalf of my boyfriend and the father of our two children. His name is Cody C. Matlack, and he is 23 years old. We are not married, but have been together now for about 5 years.

Cody was indicted in April of 1997 under 19 drug trafficking and racketeering charges. He was set up to make a delivery and was caught with over four ounces of methamphetamines in Rapid City, South Dakota. This indictment was filed after a four hour questioning from 12:00 AM - 4:00 AM, where he was never read his rights, and was denied a lawyer or the use of a phone. On January 26, 1998, Cody was convicted and pled guilty to distribution of methamphetamines. He was sentenced to 135 months.

Prior to Cody's sentencing, he signed a plea agreement with the US Attorney for a 7-9 year sentence. At the sentencing hearing, the US Attorney submitted what is known as add-ons, and with the testimony of his partners in crime, they charged him with Leader or Organizer, which added on another two years to his already 7-9 year sentence. Judge Charles B. Kornman, the sentencing trial judge, requested that Cody be placed in a minimum security facility in Colorado. Until Cody was placed, he was held first in Rapid City for 2 weeks, and then transferred to Oklahoma for another 3 weeks. In late February they placed Cody in Florence, Colorado at the Federal Prison Camp. Cody is a first time offender and, although there was an empty gun clip in a borrowed vehicle that he was driving when arrested, it was a non-violent act. The DA did, however, unsuccessfully attempt to tack on a gun charge, knowing that this was in evidence.

By the graces of God, they placed Cody somewhat close to home. Florence is about a two-hour drive from Thomton, Colorado, which is where the babies and I now live with my parents. This visiting structure seemed to work out well. He was allowed an unlimited number of authorized visitors and could have visits on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The visiting hours range anywhere from 3 hours on Fridays to 7 hours on Saturdays and Sundays. My parents and I would take the kids every other Saturday and stay for 3-4 hours. Cody's parents and brother would go on the off weekends so that we could spread it out and he would rarely have lonely weekends.

Now they have moved Cody to the FCI, a place that they call special housing, pending transfer. It seems as though the US Marshals didn't do their homework before placing Cody, and now they are saying that he has too long of a sentence to qualify for housing him as an inmate at the camp. He also does not fit some other regulation that states that he is not allowed in the general population at the FCI. He now has single hour visits from 1to 2 PM on Saturdays and Sundays. These visits allow only 2 adults in at one time and there is no contact. The babies are not allowed in to the visitation room, which is devastating to both them and their daddy. We have spoken with Cody's case manager at the FPC, and he stated that the paperwork to get all of this straightened out would probably take 6-8 months, but that they could hold him in "Special Housing" for up to one year. The thought of my babies not seeing their daddy for 6 months to one year is very difficult for me. I find it hard to believe that it is legal for the government to take a minimum-security inmate, who is known as a model prisoner, and confine him to a room for 23 hours a day.

Our children, Savannah Jo, age 3 and Cody II, age 1, need their daddy so much. Savannah always says, "Mommy, I want you to call Daddy and tell him to quit his job so that he can come and live with us!" Cody Jr. is too young to understand all of this confusion, though he does frequently say, "Daddy soon?" Though they are both too little to write their daddy letters, we paint and color pictures, and one of Savannah's favorite things to do is pick out stationery to write her daddy. Cody writes often, and before his move would call almost every night. In "special housing" he is allowed one 15 minute phone call every 30 days. Doesn't sound like any "special" housing to me. As I am sure we all know it is not impossible for a single (or in this case, widowed) mother to raise children on her own, but my children really want their Daddy back, and so does their Mommy.

1 am not only giving you our permission, but I'm also pleading with you to add Cody's name to the Wall. He did not physically harm anyone in his criminal acts, so I say let the punishment fit the crime. Cody is the love of my life. I could understand all this if he had truly harmed someone. He made mistakes that I know that he has learned from. This sentence is both inhumane and unconstitutional.

I both appreciate and admire the work that you are all doing for the many people that our cruel drug sentences affect. If we all keep up the faith, hope and hard work, I know that one day soon, it will have been worth it.

I have noticed on the website that you do not have a regional leader in the Colorado area. Any member of our family would be more than happy to get a group started out here, and would be even happier to be the leader of such a wonderful and necessary cause.