National Legal Defense Team for Ramsey Muniz August 23, 2013 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: (Contact: Ruben Botello

, Tel. 717-3003487) [Note to Media: All factual statements in the below Press Release are referenced, in the following Aug. 20 letter to President Obama, and all evidence cited in the letter to the President are available to Media per request, at earthbeat@comcast.net. If you would like more information or to interview Mr. Muniz's wife, Irma Muniz of Corpus Christi, please let us know. She has been fighting for her husband's freedom since he was first arrested, and has a lot to say about their horrendous ordeal.]

PRESS RELEASE Shippensburg (PA): The National Legal Defense Team for Ramsey Muniz (NLDTRM) asked President Obama for the immediate release of Mr. Muniz this week. The late Judge Paul Brown of Texas erroneously sentenced Mr. Muniz, to life imprisonment without parole in 1994 based on two nonviolent drug conspiracy cases filed against him. During sentencing, the judge claimed, “And the Court, under the law, must impose a mandatory life sentence”• when in fact, the applied “Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994”• (18 USC 3559(c)) only applied, to defendants who were convicted in federal court of a serious violent felony, and a second serious violent felony along with a third serious drug conviction in federal or state court, according to Jo Ann Harris, then Assistant U.S. Attorney General. See Harris Memo, at

http://www.justice.gov/usao/eousa/foia _reading_room/usam/title9/crm01032.htm ) Clearly, the “three strikes”• federal law was aimed at violent repeat offenders. Mr. Muniz only had two prior nonviolent convictions, not three, as required by the 1994 law Judge Brown applied against him. Neither of Mr. Muniz's two convictions involved any violence, threats of violence or weapons of any sort, nor were there any victims, drug use, drug sales or drug distribution involved in the two cases. “The life sentence without parole against Mr. Muniz is a horrendous miscarriage of justice,”• states Dr. Ruben Botello, director of Mr. Muniz's defense team. “At age 70 and medically disabled, Mr. Muniz is a threat to no one, in or out of prison. He's done far more than enough time for the nonviolent crimes he was convicted of (25 years), and certainly does not deserve to die in prison.”

Many Latinos believe Ramsey Muniz was so severely punished because he took over 200,000 Latino votes away from the Democratic Party when he ran for Governor of Texas, as a Chicano attorney on the La Raza Unida thirdparty ticket, in 1972. His codefendant, who was charged with the same crime in 1994, was only sentenced to 14 years, and is already out of prison. -30LETTER MAILED TO PRESIDENT OBAMA, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER AND U.S. PARDON ATTORNEY RONALD RODGERS
August 20, 2013

The Honorable Barack Obama President of the United States The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500

SUBJECT: Commutation of Sentence for Ramiro R. Muniz, Federal Prisoner #40288-115 Dear President Obama:

We pray our correspondence finds you and your loved ones well. On October 30, 2012, we sent you a letter on behalf of federal prisoner Ramiro R. Muniz, #40288-115, pleading for you to commute the life sentence without parole Mr. Muniz received, December 16, 1994, from the late Honorable Judge Paul Brown. (See Attachment A)

As mentioned in our Oct. 30, 2012 letter, Mr. Muniz's co-defendant was only sentenced to 14 years for the same crime, and was freed years ago. There were no victims, weapons, violence or threats of violence of any kind involved in the 1994 conspiracy they were convicted of, and they never sold or distributed any drugs. (ATT. A, supra) What led to Mr. Muniz's 1994 life sentence without parole (instead of 14 years imprisonment like his co-defendant) was that he had a prior 1977 conviction on a 'conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute' marijuana charge that was erroneously counted by Judge Brown, as two prior convictions, in order to apply the federal 1994 “three strikes”• law (infra) during Mr. Muniz's sentencing, Dec. 16, 1994. (ATT. A, supra) There were no weapons, victims, drug sales, violence or threats of violence involved in the 1977 case, either, but since more than one federal district court in Texas adjudicated the 1976-77 conspiracy matter (Case #SA-76-CR-176, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division; AND Case #76-C-245, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Corpus Christi Division; AND Case #76-C-345; ATTS. B, C, D, infra), it was counted, as two convictions instead of one by the Judge Brown in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division, during Mr. Muniz's 1994 sentencing proceedings before the judge, while those proceedings should have been conducted before a jury under the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution according to the U.S. Supreme Court. (See Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 AND Alleyne v. U.S., Docket No. 11-9335) Please review Attachment B (Case #SA-76-CR-176) and Attachment C (Case #76C-245) consolidated into Case #76-C-345 (Attachment D) wherein it is clear the San Antonio and Corpus Christi District Courts litigated the same singular set of facts and circumstances (in re the 1976 marijuana conspiracy charges) Judge Brown mistakenly summed up, as two prior ”serious convictions,”• to justify the

1994 life sentence without parole Mr. Muniz, and his beloved wife and family, are now suffering immensely from for no good or just cause whatsoever. Counting the 1976 marijuana conspiracy charges, as two serious violent convictions like Judge Brown did, to justify the life sentence without parole against Mr. Muniz in 1994 for a nonviolent conviction, also amounts to double jeopardy, in violation of Mr. Muniz's Fifth Amendment Constitutional right to be protected from imposition of more than one punishment for the same offense by any state or federal court. Mr. Muniz's co-defendant received one punishment (14 years) for the same offenses, while Mr. Muniz received a second punishment for the same offenses – life imprisonment without possibility of parole – and his legal rights were terminated. Judge Brown's arbitrary and capricious 1994 sentence was not based on any existing law, the jury should have decided if the existing “three strikes”• law applied (under the Sixth Amendment, supra), and it was also in violation of Mr. Muniz's Eighth Amendment Constitutional right against cruel and unusual punishment. In Att. D (re Case 76-C-345), the Corpus Christi court claims Mr. Muniz entered into a bonafide Plea Agreement with the U.S. Government (see March 7, 1977, notation in Att. D). The Plea Agreement (Attachment E) shows the U.S. Government, represented by U.S. Attorney Robert A. Berg of Corpus Christi, Texas, agreed to consolidate all the 1976-77 marijuana conspiracy charges into one new singular case (Case #76-C-345), in order to proceed against Mr. Muniz for his one prior nonviolent conviction and sentencing, in 1977. Whether or not Judge Brown honored this bonafide 1977 Plea Agreement between the U.S. Government and Mr. Muniz, during his Dec. 16, 1994, sentencing proceedings, Mr. Muniz should not have been sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of parole based on his two nonviolent convictions. In sentencing Mr. Muniz, Judge Brown claimed, “And the Court, under the law, then, must impose a mandatory life sentence.”• (see Att. A, pg. 2, supra) “The law”• Judge Brown erroneously referred to during his December 16, 1994 sentencing of Mr. Muniz was the ”Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994”• (18 U.S.C. §3559(c)). Mr. President, according to Jo Ann Harris, Assistant U.S. Attorney General, the 1994 “Three Strikes”• law applied, as follows:

The "Three Strikes" statute is sufficiently important to our violence enforcement efforts that I want to underscore its key provisions. Under the federal "Three Strikes" provision, which is now codified at 18 U.S.C. § 3559(c), the defendant receives mandatory life imprisonment if he or she:
 

is convicted in federal court of a "serious violent felony" and has two or more prior convictions in federal or state courts, at least one of which is a "serious violent felony." The other prior offense may be a "serious drug offense." The above text was taken from a March 13, 1995, memorandum to all United States Attorneys from Assistant Attorney General Jo Ann Harris (Criminal Division) on the subject of the "Three Strikes" law. (18 U.S.C. § 3559(c))

Mr. Muniz was never charged or convicted of any serious violent felony nor were there ever any weapons charges filed against him because Mr. Muniz was not, and is not a violent offender. The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 was clearly aimed at serious violent repeat offenders, not nonviolent occasional defendants like Mr. Muniz who only had two nonviolent convictions when he stood before the Court, Dec. 16, 1994. Nevertheless, Judge Brown sentenced Mr. Muniz to life imprisonment without parole, in 1994, not under the law as he claimed (supra), but arbitrarily and capriciously. It is clear from all the aforementioned attachments except for Judge Brown's sentencing transcript (ATT. A) that Mr. Muniz did not meet the criteria for a federal “three-strikes”• life sentence without parole under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 or any other federal law. Mr. Muniz has already served more than enough time (25 years) for the two nonviolent drug conspiracies he was convicted of, and he should never have been punished twice for the 1977 marijuana conspiracy charges, in order for the prosecution and court, to throw a “third strike” against him out of mainstream society for the rest of his life without any legal right to contest this great injustice. At age 70 and medically disabled, Mr. Muniz is still a model prisoner and threat to no one, in or out of prison. The native Texan just wants to go back home to Corpus Christi, to live out the rest of his life with his wife and their families instead of waiting to die in deteriorating health behind bars.

Mr. Muniz's release would be nothing short of a just, compassionate and merciful action on your part, Mr. President. We once again implore you, to commute Ramiro R. Muniz's life sentence without possibility of parole, immediately. His relatives and thousands of friends and supporters across the country will be greatly indebted to you, if you end this horrendous miscarriage of justice once and for all. Sincerely,

Ruben Botello, Director National Legal Defense Team for Ramsey Muniz cc: Honorable Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General Honorable Ronald Rodgers, U.S. Pardon Attorney Roslyn M. Brock, Chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Jaime Martinez, President of the National League of Latin American Citizens (NLLAC) Margaret Moran, President of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Janet Murguia, President of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Thomas A. Saenz, President of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) Anthony Romero, Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

*** Ruben B. Botello

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