From Ivanna Gonzalez <[email protected]>
Subject A Black Mother's Life, Stolen by the System Over $20
Date January 25, 2022 5:57 PM
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Dear John,

Alethia Jones is a mother, sister, and daughter who has served 17 years of a life plus thirty year sentence for being inside of a vehicle while the driver, her sister, was conducting a $20 drug transaction, where she ended up serving to an undercover cop. After the arrest of her sister, some of the police wanted to let her go since she complied with all inquiries and gave up the coke that was on her willingly. Officer Gonzalez stated she should "go down with her sister".

While her sister took a plea deal and only received four years in prison, Alethia received life without the possibility of parole.

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Initially, Alethia's lawyer told her not to take the plea because she might get a lower sentence than the offered seven years at the trial. This same lawyer was extremely friendly with jurors and the prosecutors on the trial, at one point mentioning a golf game they would all be having later.

There was only one black juror, the head of the NAACP, who was taken off the jury. Alethia’s lawyer didn’t push to get more diverse jurors and she was convicted by an all white jury with no option for appeal. Prosecutor Richard Castillo, who has a history of being harder on black defendants, pursued harsher punishment for dealing drugs within 1,000 feet of a church, a designated “drug-free zone”. He used her history of drug addiction to paint Alethia as a career criminal with no remorse. Castillo stated that her history showed that she was unable to overcome her addiction, and that she would only “whore,” and “steal for drugs.”

While incarcerated, Alethia has been focused on treating her addictions, enrolling in GED courses, advocating for wrongfully incarcerated women and embarking on her personal transformation.

Alethia’s charges and sentencing were the product of a racially biased system to begin with. When black mothers languish in jail because of the crooked criminal justice system, our communities and families suffer. After 17 years, she deserves the opportunity to watch her grandson grow up. We stand with Alethia and advocate for the state of Florida to grant her case clemency. Freedom is a human right. Alethia's case is enraging but sadly not unique in Florida, a state with some of the country's harshest mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses that lock people in the criminal justice system. Today we fight for freedom for Alethia and long-term we fight to change policies that lock her and others like her up unnecessarily without offering treatment and care.

We ask all members to sign the petition [[link removed]] for Alethia's clemency.

In Solidarity,

Ivanna Gonzalez

Director of Campaigns

Florida Rising

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10800 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33161
For information specific to your region, please contact:
Tampa Bay Regional Director Robin Lockett [[email protected]]
Miami Regional Director Sebastian Caicedo [[email protected]]
Central Florida Regional Director Shakhea Hinton [[email protected]]
Broward & Palm Beach Regional Director Bertisha Combs [[email protected]]
North Florida Regional Director Christian Gonzalez-Orbegoso [[email protected]]
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