President Obama commutes Rudy’s sentence August 30, 2016!!!!
Rudy Martinez is currently serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole following his conviction in 1992 on charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise. Rudy is a Mexican-American who was born and raised in Chicago by an alcoholic mother, a single parent, who raised him, an older brother and younger sister. Rudy spent most of his early teens running away from home because of the dysfunctional setting he lived in and became involved with selling drugs as early as age 11. Rudy is a father to two sons, whose lives he has been prohibited from being a part of, all because of a proven failed policy. He has missed and will miss his family’s major life milestones – birthdays, graduations, weddings and births of grandchildren.
While Rudy has been incarcerated for over 25 years, others involved in the cocaine conspiracy, including some more culpable than Rudy, have already been out of prison for decades. Cynthia Pluff, the principal offender in the conspiracy, was sentenced to only 7 1/2 years as a result of her cooperation with the government and testifying against Rudy and others – testimony which, as she later admitted in an affidavit, exaggerated the amount of cocaine involved as well as Rudy’s participation in the operation. Pluff, a former prostitute, ultimately served only three years of her sentence in prison due to her cooperation with the government in a sting operation involving prison guards engaging in sex with female inmates.
Yet Rudy continues to languish in prison, with no hope for a future outside the prison walls unless is he granted a commutation or pardon.
Drug War Stories first contacted Rudy in April 2016. The 5-part story that follows is in Rudy’s own words, derived from our correspondences with him and his testimony during his sentencing hearing in 1992. Some grammatical and typographical errors have been corrected, and parenthetical comments have been added, for readability and clarity – but this is Rudy’s story as he himself tells it. As Rudy tells his story, he can come often off as harsh as he vents against the other defendants in the case who received lesser sentences and who have long been out of prison. As Rudy himself admits, he was “a young, ambitious, ignorant, arrogant and manipulative person, who thought that working a 40 hour gig was for ‘suckers,'” but he fully realizes he has only himself to blame. As Rudy says, he was a drug dealer. It’s all he ever knew and all he ever did. He was no saint. But he has paid the price. No good can come from keeping him in prison the rest of his life, and at 50, that would likely mean many decades more. 25 years is long enough. Rudy should be freed.