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Man Serving 40-year Sentence Despite State’s Mistake

Man Serving 40-year Sentence Despite State’s Mistake

How crazy is the criminal justice system? Take a look at Andrew Williams serving a 40-year drug sentence.

Williams has served almost half of his sentence that the government admitted is a mistake. Except the state will do nothing about it, and damn anyone who dares challenge its insanity.

Williams was caught in a drug sting that netted 19 small drug dealers connected to a dirty cop almost 20 years ago. The insane drug laws in this country put people selling drugs in prison for longer sentences than murderers and rapists.

The reason he got a 40-year sentence for a non-violent drug crime is because the court incorrectly labeled him a ‘career offender,’ stated Kim Carter, a blogger who works with incarcerated writers and wrote about this case.

Carter told Chicago News that everyone knows it was an error, including the judge in the original case and the prosecutor. In an order signed by Judge Robert Gettleman, the original judge stated, “The court strongly recommends that the Bureau of Prisons, in classifying Andre Williams, take into consideration that he is not a ‘career offender,’ and that the PSR incorrectly labeled him as such.”

“The thing is – that was an error,” Carter wrote in an email. “He is not a career offender, and the office knows it, the judge knows it, the prosecutor knows it, everybody knows it.  It has been admitted. It is not a secret.  It was known at sentencing over 20 years ago.”

Carter wrote about Williams’ case in her blog entitled Walk In Those Shoes. She states in her blog that a brief was filed in 2015 that noted the court and parties became aware of the error several months prior to Williams’ sentencing on April 10, 1998 and the state court transcript noted that Williams had only one prior conviction for possession with intent to distribute, and one conviction for simple possession. The Circuit Court of Cook County later corrected its records to reflect the correct offense and then a motion was filed in 2007 to reduce his sentence as a result of the amended crack-cocaine guidelines. However, the motion was denied in 2009 because Williams is a career offender not entitled to relief, Carter wrote. In 2013, the Court stated ‘to obtain authorization, William’s proposed claim must rely on a new constitution rule … or new facts showing innocence.’

“In fact, the career offender status was the result of a scrivener’s error in the underlying state criminal proceeding, which indicated that he had pled guilty to possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, when in fact he had pled guilty to simple possession,” her blog states. “Although both this court and the government acknowledge this serious error in computing Mr. William’s then-mandatory Guideline sentence, because the judgment had become final there was no judicial remedy to correct.”

This country has a rich history of denying its citizens justice on account of insane laws no ‘civilized’ state would endorse. People of different races were not allowed to date, black people had to sit at the back of the bus and colored people could only drink at colored water fountains according to past laws. It took massive marches and outrage to abolish those laws.

Here you have another insane situation. The courts agree that the sentence handed down was based on the wrong information, but because the sentence is final, you’re out of luck.

“This is the most incarcerated country in the world,” Carter said. “There are things done – people thrown away never to be heard from again. This is one of them. He should be out.”