Emmanuel A. Uzuegbunam -- #31515-083

7 Years -- Crack Conspiracy

Emmanuel A. Uzuegbunam, prisoner of the drug war
I came to this country in 1981 to run away from corrupt government officials in Nigeria. I started college at VUU in Richmond, Virginia and graduated in 1987. I was unable to get a job immediately in my field of accounting; so I began driving a taxi cab. I worked day and night for a couple of years.

Eventually I saved enough money to start my own business. I went to a bank in Richmond to establish a line of credit for my new company, the Shockoe Taxicab Company.

The government sent an informant to ride in my taxi to the "project" housing unit to buy some crack cocaine. We were unsuccessful at first, but finally we found the drugs for the informant. I was arrested, but those who sold the drugs were not. I have been the subject of unjust incarceration and selective prosecution.

They offered me one year in exchange for a guilty plea. My lawyer pressured me to accept the offer by saying the judge would be mad if I didn't go along with the plea agreement. When I looked at the motion that was filed on my behalf, there were some serious problems. Then it dawned on me why my lawyer did not attend the Rule II hearing. My attorney's assistant had forged his signature on the plea agreement.

I then wrote a letter to the judge about the problem. He stated that I could withdraw my guilty plea; I signed the affidavit to withdraw my plea. At that stage, the judge, prosecutor and my attorney ganged up against me, and I was sentenced to 188 months in prison.

Emmanuel A. Uzuegbunam, prisoner of the drug war
I was denied a fair trial. Four days before my trial, I was experiencing seizures and a semi-stroke condition that resulted from nightmares and flashbacks from the violence of the civil war in my own country that I experienced as a child. The doctor in the Orange County jail recommended medications. I was sent to court without any medication. I was disoriented and given only five minutes to read and understand my plea.

Later, after taking my medication, I tried to withdraw my plea, but not having counsel on this matter made the whole issue confusing. In 1996, I asked the court to vacate the hearing based upon the abuse of due process to no avail.

I was set up by the FBI, and I find that in America, the judges, lawyers and prosecutors are some of the most dishonest, deceptive and unethical people I have ever met.