Drug War Prisoners

March, 2002: Chronicle of Shame -Texas Law Ethics Part 1

Martin Dale Walker, himself a victim of the War on Drugs in Texas, chronicles patterns of Drug War sentencing in Texas courts. He notes that "all cases, events, and opinions cited from www.westgroup.com, are to be considered allegations by reason of appeal."

My name is Martin Dale Walker, POW #747874, and I'm currently serving a 99 year sentence for the alleged possession of marijuana (10 pounds). While I'm fighting for my freedom through the collateral procedures of appeal, I feel obliged to help those who have fallen victim to the irrational sentencing policies of the War on Drugs in Texas. We have to expose the truth and show the senseless application of extremely long sentences including life to drug offenders, as we are called. The following 12 cases are among hundreds I have collected - a first installment of a long chronicle of shame.

Frank T. Linton (Linton v. State, 15 S.W.3d 515 (Tex. App.- Houston [14 Dist.] 2000) Convicted of possession of cocaine (a small glass pipe with burn marks and a chalky white film inside and around it as alleged. After a simple traffic stop, violation, and arrest an inventory search of the vehicle produced the alleged contraband. Linton was to have claimed it - jury set punishment at 20 years confinement.

Brandy Gene Price (Price v. State, 15 S.W.3d 577 [Tex.App.- Waco 2000]). Convicted of possession with intent to deliver cocaine & possession of cocaine - Convicted and sentenced to 60 years/$3000 fine and 20 years/$2000 fine.

Isaac Escomilla, Jr. (Escomilla v. State, 14 S.W.3d 461 (Tex.App.- Houston [14 Dist] 2000)). Convicted for possession of marijuana/pled guilty with one enhancement of prior conviction - sentenced to 20 years confinement.

Kirkland Lamar Warren (Warren v. State, 15 S.W.3d 461 188 (Tex.App.- Texarkana 2000)). Convicted of delivery of one gram or more but less than four grams of cocaine, by actual delivery. Jury assessed punishment at 50 years imprisonment. Cynthia Berefield, a private citizen working with the Northeast Texas Narcotics Task Force, being a paid informant to arrange drug buys between undercover officers and suspected drug dealers.

Theodore Sam Zervos (Zervos v. State, 15 S.W.3d 146 (Tex.App.- Texarkana 2000)). Convicted of possession of more than 400 grams cocaine after being pulled over for an alleged minor traffic violation (making a lane change without signaling). Sentenced to life imprisonment.

Harold Hart Jr. (Hart v. State, 15 S.W.3d 117 (Tex.App.- Texarkana 2000)). Charged and convicted for delivery of a controlled substance, cocaine in the amount of more than 4 grams but less than 200 grams. Jury sentenced him to 99 years imprisonment. Eber Baxter Jr., a convicted criminal, was used as a confidential informant to make the drug deal.

Bobby Gene Lincoln. (Lincoln v. State, 999 S.W.2d 806 (Tex.App.- Austin 1999)). Convicted of possession of 4 plus grams amphetamine - plus two prior felony convictions and was sentenced to 77 years confinement.

Terry Wayne Hardeman. (Hardeman v. State, 1 S.W.3d 729 (Tex.Crim.App. 1999)). This case shows how readily courts can lock up individuals for life for alleged drug offenses. Hardeman was convicted of delivery of less than 28 grams of cocaine, pled guilty, and received 10 years probation. After alleged non-payment of fines/cocaine use, probation was revoked and Hardeman was sentenced to life imprisonment under the original cocaine charge.

Larry Dean Freeman. (Freeman v. State, 998 S.W.2d 397 (Tex.App.- Texarkana 1999)). Convicted of two counts of intent and knowingly delivering more than one gram but less than four grams cocaine. Jury assessed punishment in each case at imprisonment for life.

Charles Martin Daniels. (Daniels v. State, 999 S.W.2d 52 (Tex.App.- Houston [14 Dist.] 1999). Convicted of possession of cocaine 4 grams or more but less than 200 grams. Daniels was sentenced to 35 years imprisonment.

Allen Wayne Johnson. (Johnson v. State, 995 S.W.2d 948 (Tex.App. Waco 1999)). Convicted for delivery of controlled substance, sentenced to 75 years imprisonment, which was reversed. In a subsequent court hearing deriving from the reversal, Johnson received life imprisonment.

Charles Edward Moore. (Moore v. State, 983 S.W.2d 15 (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist] 1998)). Convicted of delivery of less than 28 grams cocaine enhanced with a prior felony conviction and assessed the maximum imprisonment of 99 years. Undercover police officer Catherine Guidry walked over to Officer Muniz, standing nearby, and asked if he "wanted to buy some crack cocaine." Officer Muniz responded "Yes," and Officer Guidry walked over to Moore who handed her the crack cocaine and was arrested.

More information will be presented for your consideration in next month's column.




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