Liz Chapa -- #16145-074

27 years, plus 10 years supervised release

Release date: 2020 - Non-violent drug offense

Liz Chapa, prisoner of the drug war
On June 5, 1997, Liz Chapa and her family were getting ready to attend her daughter's high school graduation when the police busted into their home and arrested Liz. Later she was told that she was being charged with "conspiracy," that ultimately led to the arrest of nineteen more individuals, of which Liz didn't know half of.

Liz's first mistake was proceeding to trial. But she knew she was not guilty of all that the government had charged her with. Liz did not know that our justice system punishes people more when they take their case to trial. She was ultimately sentenced to 27 years on the basis of other co-defendants testimony who gained sentence reductions by testifying against her. Liz can still recall the horror of the trial where false testimony was relied upon in order to lock her away for 27 years of her life. For Liz these 27 years may as well be a life sentence.

As the drug laws stand today. Liz will spend the next 20 plus years behind bars for a nonviolent offense. Is this true justice when murderers and rapists are receiving much less?

Dear Judge: My mother, Elizabeth M. Chapa, has been incarcerated for two years of my life for something she had little to do with. She will still be incarcerated for another 20 years or more. She got locked up when I was 15 years old. It has been so hard for me without her. I miss her dearly and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about her. I have been so hurt and confused these past two years and I seriously believe that it's because of my mother not being here with me. My mother is all that I have in my life and she's not here. I miss my mother, I need my mother, Please let my mother come home! -- Crystal R. Virgil - Daughter of Liz (Elizabeth) Chapa

On April 19, 2000, shortly after the writing of this, Crystal tried to commit suicide. Thank God, she was discovered in time and taken to the hospital. Upon awakening, Crystal said., "But they took my mother away!"