LIGHTNING STRIKES ONE MAN TWICE
My name is Danny Rodriguez. In 1994 all the judges from the Southern District of Florida were recused from presiding over my federal indictment due to an allegation against me that revolved around a sitting federal judge. The 11th Circuit Court of appeals appointed the Honorable Judge Robert Propst to preside. Ultimately, I was convicted of a mere possessing a firearm under 922(g)(1). And sentence to an extremely unjust 22 1/2 years (See Exh (A) 1994 Judgment).
As I neared my release after serving 22 years the Supreme Court ruled that my sentence was unconstitutional in a landmark ruling US vs. Johnson. At that point my case was remanded back to the District Court for resentencing. Where in 2016 I was re-sentenced to 10 years (See Exh (B) ORDER 202) albeit already having served 22 difficult years in maximum security penitentiaries (which is an altogether another matter). The new 10-year sentence imposed resulted in my immediate release being that I had over-served my illegal sentence by 12 years.
Upon my release I embarked in search of stolen dreams. I lived with my aged parents and enjoyed every divine moment. My parents had suffered much, in life, being that in 1995 we also lost my only sibling to a tragic car accident, he was only 23 years old. I worked for my father's company as well started a construction cleaning company division within Pink Broom LLC, where I became part owner. The company billed over 300K in a 10-month period as a result of my work ethic's and business acumen.
Pink Broom was thriving and had several contracts pending at the time of my arrest, December 7, 2017. Throughout that time period I had also met an incredible woman and we were quickly engaged. We were basking in a magical relationship when suddenly I was arrested at my parent’s home in the dark of night. I'll never forget the pain in my parents faces, nor the tears in my mother’s eyes.
I had been arrested for providing a group of former inmates with a list of friends I made while in prison. This group in 2014 (long before I was released from prison) created a system to send synthetic marijuana into prisons. They cleverly structured a ruse where they were impregnating paper with this synthetic marijuana under the guise of legal mail, books etc. I'll preface this by saying that in prison synthetic marijuana is not punishable as an illegal drug only as contraband. Thus, knowing this I was easily swayed to provide this group with a list of friends I had made while serving over 2 decades in prison. I wrongly thought it to be a cool thing to do for inmates that are serving very lengthy sentences.
In the midst of this conspiracy, if you will, I did ask the guy who was buying and impregnating the substance onto the paper if this fake weed was illegal- He assured that it was not. After over a year in pretrial detention my lawyers coerced me to take an open plea straight to the Judge despite my persistence on going to trial (See Exh (A) Email to father after my guilty plea). I wanted trial for several reasons. Among them I could've proven that I simply never knew anything about the synthetic marijuana they impregnated onto the paper and never imagined that it was illegal. In fact the guy that started this mess became an informant and truthfully told the Government that he never knew that it was illegal.
Through the pretrial process, at one point, the Government had offered a plea deal of 12 years. Which had many unreasonable criterions and was totally unrealistic when compared to other synthetic marijuana cases. In the entire United States, my federal synthetic marijuana case is the absolute most insignificant. There are numerous cases dealing with hundreds if not thousands of Kilos of synthetic marijuana where defendants all received under 10 years.
My case deals with under one (1) kilo and I'm told to accept a 12-year sentence and told that I would have to forfeit my 12-years of over-served time due to an illegal sentence. The math simply did not add up to the unfairness of it, it was wholly unjust (See Exh (E) comparison charts). Yet my lawyers pressured me by telling me things that ended up being untrue, which led me to not accepting the 12 years offered. But what's called an open plea, in part, based on Counsel assurance that I will get less than 10 years. This occurred in August 20th, 2018.
On June 12th, 2019 after an onslaught of mistakes from my paid Counsel I was ultimately sentenced to 33 years in prison. This is not a typo; I received a 400 months sentence for less than an actual kilo of fake weed (See CASE #: 1:17-cr-20904-UU-1). Yes, I made a conscious mistake to have allowed myself to get involved in this mess. But why should this mistake cost me my entire life? What in my conduct justifies a 33-year sentence? And why, if my case consists of an inconsequential amount of fake weed: under one (1) kilo of actual synthetic marijuana should my sentence be so disproportionate from other cases that involve much, much more fake weed?
What makes my case deserve such a harsh sentence? And, begs the question, what in my conduct is so egregious that I merit a disproportionate and harsher sentence than others that are found guilty of Murder, Rape, Bank Robbers, Kidnappers, Drug Lords, Pedophiles, Weapon Offenses, Terrorist, War Criminals, Drug traffickers of actual dangerous drugs e.g. Cocaine, Heroin, Crack, Fentanyl, LSD, ICE, Amphetamines etc.?
It's utterly hypocritical for a Country that condemns the world over humanitarian crisis and over the cruelty against their own people when learning of what has occurred to me. Because this Country is torturing Americans under the guise of a fair judicial process. I cannot fathom the justification of condemning a man to 33 years for a substance that its Toxicology effects, Dependence Potential, or Abuse Potential has not been tested on humans or animals (see Exh (G) World Health Organization Report). It's worth noting too that ADB-FUBINACA has NOT cause a single death in the United States. Especially when considering that any type of paints, cleaning supplies etc. kill Americans every day. The enforcement of this substance i.e. ADB-FUBINACA by the DEA delegated powers is purely arbitrary and oppressive.
I was unjustly sentenced in 1994, where 12 years of my life were stolen by an illegal and unconstitutional sentence. Now a court finds it reasonable to deliver the coup de grace of a 33-year prison sentence for a nonviolent offense that regards an innocuous substance that mimic's weed. Further it is worth noting that ADB FUBINACA according to the DEA was being sold in local gas stations, convenience stores and head shops.
While I should be punished for my illegal conduct of participating in this conspiracy: What is occurring to my family and I is cruel and unusual punishment, it is un-American and simply itself criminal. This 33-year sentence for the aforementioned crime is draconian and does not represent the condign punishment of a civilized Country, the United States of America.
My family and I beg the Public and the President of the United States to intervene in this grave injustice against an American.
SINCERELY A BROKEN MAN.
/s/ Danny Rodriguez