This was sent to me by The American Liberty Foundation, Harry Browne's public policy group. Yeah, it was first published a few years ago but horror stories like these are worth repeating.
"In 1994 Debbie Vineyard was accused of dealing
drugs, even though no drugs or money were ever
produced as evidence. She was convicted solely on
the say-so of an admitted drug dealer -- a man who
was given a reduced sentence in exchange for naming
The drug agents pressured her to name other
conspirators in exchange for leniency. But, of
course, she couldn't name anyone because she wasn't
involved in any criminal activity.
She was told (as many people in her situation are)
that if she pleaded innocent and asked for a jury
trial, she would get 30 years to life if she lost
-- as a penalty for tying up the judicial system.
Afraid of being separated from her family for so
long, she gave in and pleaded guilty. Even though
she was a first-time "offender," she was sentenced
to ten years in prison.
Debbie was sent to a prison in Alabama -- separated
by 2,000 miles from her husband, son, and disabled
father in California.
There were no drugs, no money, no evidence of any
kind -- just the misfortune of being acquainted
slightly with someone who was secretly dealing
She describes the experience:
"I was never given the opportunity for a bond,
and I was held for eight months before pleading
guilty. Before this happened to me, my family and
I would never have believed something like this
could actually happen. There was absolutely no
evidence against me, and a crime had not even
"Even though I was pregnant, I was handcuffed,
shackled, and flown via airlift with the Federal
Marshals. I was housed in four different county
jails before finally reaching my destination, an
Alabama jail. In court, I was provided a
court-appointed attorney (I was his first client).
Due to my pregnancy, my court date was postponed
and the Marshals drove me, handcuffed,
belly-belted, and shackled, for ten hours to a
Kentucky Prison to give birth to my child."
(Source: "The Great Libertarian Offer" by Harry
Browne, published by LiamWorks, 2000... Sources are