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Randy's STORY

How a 50-Year-Old Professional Photographer received nearly two decades in federal prison (with no parole) after pleading guilty to a single $250 drug deal.


"Law without justice is like a wound without a cure."


Why Randy Deserves Clemency

Randy is 55. There is no parole in the federal system, a significant fact that ought not to be discounted. If Randy has to serve his entire sentence, he will be nearly 70 years old upon his release. Before this case, Randy had never spent a single day in prison. We want to make a point emphatically clear: there was not a single piece of physical evidence against Randy – not one piece of evidence; that is, Randy was never caught with drugs, nor was there any physical evidence that so much as tied him to drugs, much less drug distribution. Still, Randy pleaded guilty to a single $250 drug deal, despite adamantly and consistently explaining the drug deal was for personal use, not distribution. But let’s back up a little.

Randy’s guilty plea was induced after he was repeatedly told that, if he did not waive his right to indictment and plead guilty, the government would “destroy his life,” and he would “die in federal prison.” The immense psychological pressure broke Randy. On the record, Randy denied the accusations in more than 15 instances, and each time his attorney effectively called him a “liar.” She browbeat him. But neither Randy’s attorney nor the government ever confronted him with any actual evidence….



Read the full appendix to Randy’s Clemency Petition.


Sign the Petition

Support Randy

by signing
his petition.


Clemency Brief

Read the full Clemency Brief or Read a quick summary
of it here.

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Photo: Randy and his daughter


Randy attended Stephen F. Austin College, in Texas. Shortly thereafter, Randy got married. He then began investing in his passion, photography, which he turned into a 30-year career.

Randy regularly donated his time and skill as a professional photographer to many local charity events, most of them centered on Children’s Hospitals (Randy, a professional photographer, would snap photos at the events, at no cost). In addition, every year for 10 years he put together the press-packets for the Veteran’s Day Parade. He donated his photography and similar skills to do this. Randy also built a family – he has two daughters and a son. Randy is especially close to his daughters and mother. One of Randy’s daughters is an ER Nurse in Oklahoma. The other graduated recently from a make-up design school and is pursuing a career as a professional make-up artist. Randy’s son is in college. All his children are still in their 20s.


Making a Drug Trafficker:

Read how the government strong-armed a guilty plea to a single $250 drug deal that merited 18 months in prison, then used devious tactics to parlay it into a multiyear drug operation comprising more than 50 drug deals, resulting in nearly two decades in federal prison. Read Randy’s Clemency Petition, which dismantles the government’s gross manipulation.


a letter from Randy


“He doesn’t deserve to be in there, he should be out here with his family, he shouldn’t be in there while the government ruins his life and continues too. He should be out here with his family where he belongs.”

— Halle Bookout (Randy's Daughter)

“Randy has just been the shining light of our family, always full of fun, helpfulness for anybody and everybody whatever their need was…we are hoping so much that we get to see Randy come home to his family who needs him.”

— Judy Melling (Randy's Aunt)

Clemency Petition Summaries

Exploitation of a legal loophole to inflate dramatically Randy’s prison sentence:

By exploiting a legal loophole at sentencing, the government used uncharged conduct and uncharged crimes to increase Randy’s sentencing range from 18 months in prison to nearly 20 years in prison.



Using uncorroborated out-of-court hearsay to manufacture a ready-made four-year drug enterprise:

Even though the court used uncorroborated out-of-court hearsay accusations to support more than 50 uncharged drug deals and related activities tacked on at Randy’s sentencing, Randy was not allowed to fairly defend himself by facing his accuser.


Inventing evidence through manipulation:

To support more than 50 drug deals and related activities that drove Randy’s near-statutory-maximum prison sentence and to paint Randy as a drug trafficker, the government buried the overwhelming evidence that rendered the accusations unreliable or demonstrably false, by hiding from Randy’s sentencing judge every word, statement, sentence, interview, and other evidence that undercut the accusations, no matter how strong; and consequently manufactured a one-sided sentencing report.


Rewarding high-level drug traffickers, while punishing a low-level addict:

Randy, a low-level addict who was truthful and simply had nothing substantial to give the government, received a prison sentence nearly twice as long as both of the prison sentences received by two high-level drug traffickers, who fabricated for the government accusations (never confirmed) against Randy, combined.


Be a part of the movement that helped bring Randy back to his family.

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