The mission of this page is to bring awareness and support for my brother Rafael DeJesus, who, as a first time non-violent drug offender, has spent the last 24 years of his life imprisoned due to the draconian mandatory minimum sentencing laws. However, 2003 Michigan sentencing reforms threw out Mandatory minimum sentence laws and unfortunately not retroactive. Meaning my Rafael is serving a life sentence on a law that does not exist in the state of Michigan. Why? is my Question.
It is time to take his case out of the darkness and bring it into the light.
In August 12, 1993, at the age of 23 years old, Rafael was arrested and in Feb. 1994 sentenced an convicted to four (4) consecutive mandatory minimum sentences in the state of Michigan for 12 ounces of cocaine:
- delivery = 10 – 20 years
- conspiracy to deliver = 10 – 20 years
- possession with intent to deliver = 20 – 30 years
- conspiracy with intent to deliver = 20 – 30 years
This means that at the minimum, Rafael must serve 60 years (he will be 83 years old) and at the maximum he must serve 100 years (a death sentence) before he is eligible for release.
My brother, Rafael, at the time of his sentence was a 23 year old kid who never even had a parking ticket, nor any violation in his life. In his first offense, he was sentenced to die in prison.
It has been 22 years since Rafael’s conviction. With no sign of relief, Rafael, a 47 year old man, is a model prisoner, who has taken advantage of the every possible education and self-improvement training that Michigan correctional facilities have had to offer him. He has become a self-made artist whose paintings have been recognized to help promote the Arts in various states in the USA correctional facilities. I addition, Rafael DeJesus is a successful Leader Dog trainer for the Blind whose canines are bringing freedom to the Vision Loss Community. Among great other accomplisments, Rafael DeJesus is currently enrolled in the amazing Calvin College theological seminar, studying Theology. Rafael connection with the Lord has giving him the love,hope love and streghth to succeed regardless of the life sentence he received at such a young age.
As President Obama stated in his address at the NAACP conference, “This is a nation of opportunities and second chances.”
Together, we can ask the Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, to have some compassion and grant Rafael DeJesus a second chance with a commutation. Rafael’s punishment does not fit his crime and he has received an extremely cruel and unjust sentence that goes against the fundamental principles that this country was founded upon. He has both learned his lesson the hard way and proven beyond measure to be someone who can successfully reintegrate into society.
Rafael deserves a second chance. Rafael does not deserve to die in prison And ultimately, Americans taxpayers should continue to waste money to support keeping inmates in prison like Rafael instead of investing that money in educating our children and creating better services for the less fortunate in our society.
God Bless you & Thank you for your support!
Rafael DeJesus’ Sister