Anthony Perkins — #984234

42 Years, Crack Distribution

Anthony Perkins, prisoner of the drug war
My name is Anthony Paul Perkins. I am 35 years old and serving 42 years in prison for one count of distributing cocaine. This was my first drug charge. I read one of your Razor Wire papers and it really helps to see that non-violent people like me shouldn't be locked away for the rest of our lives.

My story begins with the police doing uncover 'buys' for crack cocaine. An off-duty ATF officer bought some crack cocaine and the buy was recorded with a video camera. The police bought crack from a guy with a Marlboro hat, and the guy with the recorder watched the deal go down. Police say they lost the picture because the ATF man hit a pot hole in the road, but they began the search for the dealer in the "Marlboro hat" anyway. When the police saw me, I was wearing a hat with "L & M" on it - good enough for them. They showed a 1987 picture of me to the undercover police and they said that I was the man who was selling crack.

The charge carries 15 years, but because I had other charges for small burglaries so I could buy crack, they enhanced the 15 years to 30 years. On probation at the time of my arrest, the 30 years was enhanced to 42 years.

I've been fighting this for four years, but the lawyers can only help those who have money. Here's what my public defender said in his papers for my appeal:

The sentence imposed on appellant (Perkins) is so unreasonable and excessive as to constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

The record before the court discloses little about the appellant. Not once in its three sentences did the trial court review a pre-sentence investigation because none was prepared. Nevertheless, if we assume that everything said about the defendant is true, it is a safe assumption that his crimes were motivated by an addiction to drugs.

The tell-tale signs of a crack cocaine addiction are apparent in the record: (1) defendant steals minor items (bottles of alcohol and televisions) which can be sold or pawned for quick cash; (2) defendant is selling small quantities of crack to support his own habit; (3) defendant tests positive for cocaine use; and(4) defendant is unable to conform his own behavior to the rules despite impending sanctions. Those who can read between the lines and have some understanding of how a crack addiction prevents adherence to society's rules can see that Anthony Perkins is not a hardened criminal who, for the sake of society, needs to be locked away for the next 42 years. Instead, his weakness, his inability to control the symptoms of his drug addiction, is a problem shared by hundreds of thousands of people throughout our country. And it is a problem which is particularly prevalent among the poor and uneducated people such as Mr. Perkins.