By Cheri Sicard
Most people in the United States are unaware we have people in this country serving sentences of LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE for nonviolent marijuana offenses. Out of the small minority who are aware, most think this an outdated practice that never happens anymore. They’re wrong.
While most of the marijuana lifers we know of are senior citizens who have been incarcerated for decades, the practice of handing out life sentences for nonviolent marijuana “crimes” continues. Corvain Cooper, the newest marijuana lifer the CAN-DO Foundation (www.candoclemency.com) has identified, received a sentence of life without possibility of parole in 2014!
In January 2013, Cooper was indicted for violations of Federal Marijuana Distribution and Money Laundering statutes in the Western District of North Carolina, Charlotte. Corvain has never been to Charlotte nor does he know anyone who lives there. No matter. The way conspiracy laws in this country work, the person convicted is responsible for the crimes of everyone involved, often while the true guilty parties do little to no prison time.
Corvain had one prior, for the possession and transportation of one-half pound of marijuana. He received a two-year sentence for this offense and with good behavior he spent a little less than a year in a California state prison and was released July 22, 2012.
After his release Corvain “put that life behind me.” He trademarked his own clothing line” “Old Money,” got engaged to his girlfriend Susan Wilburn, and became an active member of the Faith Full Central Church of Inglewood, California.
Corvain resumed work on his clothing line and enjoyed spending time with his children and family. Life was good until January 28, 2013. As he was preparing to go to his daughter’s drill team competition, federal agents arrived and, in front of his children and neighbors, arrested Corvain and extradited him to Charlotte to face charges.
In 2010, unbeknown to Cooper, a childhood friend of his got caught with 338 pounds of marijuana. Eighteen months later this “friend” began to “cooperate” with authorities and named Corvain as a conspirator. During the time of the investigation, Cooper was incarcerated on his prior possession offense.
Due to the distance, his family could not afford to visit him or attend his trial in Charlotte. The entire case was built around coerced testimony, switched statements, and the truly guilty making up lies about others in order to get time cut off their own sentences.
Corvain was “offered” 15 to 20 years if he pled guilty to something he knew he had not done. He was facing a life sentence if he exercised his Constitutionally guaranteed right to fight the charges and lost. He did the only thing he felt was correct; believing in the American system of justice, he took it to trial thinking the truth would come out.
During the first two days of trial, Corvain Cooper’s name was not mentioned at all. The investigators had never seen him nor had anyone in the bank where the deposits had been made.
On the second day of trial, the government offered him a “deal” to receive a lower sentence if he agreed to testify against two defendants on trial. Corvain had previously and unsuccessfully moved to sever his trial from theirs.
Because he would have had to lie against the two defendants he knew nothing about, Corvain refused the government’s “deal.” The next day Cooper learned that those defendants had made deals of their own to lie about him. Both came to trial testifying for the government. Corvain was found guilty and sentenced to spend the rest of his natural life in prison.
Corvain Cooper was convicted without any marijuana, “ghost dope” as it is called. He received an “851 enhancement” for the one-half pound of marijuana prior conviction, which is what lead to his life sentence.
Even though he has never committed a violent crime, Corvain Cooper is serving a longer sentence than most of those who commit murder. He pleads: “Please help me and please help to change these Draconian laws. I just want to get back to my kids and my family. My parents are elderly and fear they will never see their son again. This really upsets me more than words can express.”
How You Can Help
Email President Obama and ask him to grant clemency to Corvain Cooper, federal inmate #64301-112.
Email your senators (www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm) and Congressional representatives (www.house.gov/representatives/find/) and ask them to urge the President to grant clemency for Corvain Cooper, federal inmate #64301-112.
Write to Corvain
Corvain loves getting cards and letters from supporters. Write to him here:
Corvain Cooper #64301-112
PO Box 19001
Atwater, CA 95301
Want to help more?
Here’s how to put money directly onto a prisoner’s books — no middle man, ALL of the money goes DIRECTLY to the prisoner – to be used for phone calls, email, legal expenses, food, personal hygiene items, etc.:
Send a postal money order (yes it must be a POSTAL money order or the Bureau of Prisons will not accept it) to:
Federal Bureau of Prisons
Inmate Name, Inmate Register Number
(in this case Corvain Cooper #64301-112)
Post Office Box 474701
Des Moines, Iowa 50947-0001
Or go to Western Union and find the link on the bottom of the page “send money to an inmate.” (www.westernunion.com)
MAKE YOUR OWN FREE CORVAIN COOPER SIGN
The CAN-DO Foundation has made it easy for you to make your own Pot Lifer Protest Signs (like the one in this article). Make some signs, take them to your next event and preach the gospel of NO LIFE FOR POT!. Get details and free graphics downloads here.
Editor’s note: Cheri Sicard is a dedicated cannabis activist, the author of Mary Jane: The Complete Marijuana Handbook for Women (2015 Seal Press) and The Cannabis Gourmet Cookbook (2012 Z-Dog Media). She is vice president of the CAN-DO Foundation (www.candoclemency.com). Her blog is www.CannabisCheri.com.