Greetings to All,
There are moments and occasions in history which require the
active participation of a citizenry whose lives are confronted with tyranny and
Tyranny is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “the cruel
and arbitrary use of authority.”
My name is Robert Salvador Morales and I am slowly dying
from liver disease.I have been
sentenced to 35 years to life for a non-violent property crime.The California Three Strike law as originally
drafted, was created to deal with the repeat violent offender. [1.]
Once the measure was implemented, it would prove to be much
more ominous in nature.Thousands of men
and women would be arrested for non-violent crimes and sentenced to life within
the walls of the California
state prison system.
This was not the measure’s original intent and therefore
construed as anything less than “The cruel and arbitrary use of authority.” [2.]
Today history calls upon us, beckoning that we gather here
to decide the fate of those souls cruelly sent to languish behind the walls of
our state’s immense prison system.Exiled for the remainder of their natural lives for crimes involving
zero violence.May providence, compassion
and wisdom guide us in our final decision.
Ten years ago I was lost and confused, awash in a world of
drug addiction and oblivion.I supported
my heroin habit by dealing small amounts to other drug addicts.I had heard of the California Three Strike
law and deliberately took pains to avoid any criminal behavior remotely resembling
violence for fear I would be arrested and sentenced to life.As long as I dealt and used small quantities
of drugs I felt insulated from the Three Strike law.
In October of 1998 my world came crashing down.A fellow dealer had owed me a $100 debt.This individual had avoided me for several
months.One day I drove to his apartment
and observing through the window that he was not home, decided to enter the
dwelling and steal some items to cover his outstanding debt.
In retrospect, this was a foolish and impulsive
decision.I took some jewelry and a
radio.His brother drove up while I was
leaving the premises and notified the police.I was arrested a short time later and subsequently sentenced to a term
of 35 years to life.
It should be noted that the dealer who I stole from refused
to press charges.He cooperated with the
authorities only after he was threatened with deportation to his native
I will be the first to admit that indeed I did break the
law.The fact that I was mentally
dysfunctional and severely drug impaired does in no way abrogate the legal
consequences of this criminal act.On
the other hand, nor does it warrant the lethal finality of which in my
particular case is tantamount to a death sentence.
The crime of burglary is defined by national crime
statistics and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is listed solely as a crime
against property.To elevate it as a
serious or violent crime because it has the propensity for violence is a faulty
Based on this assumption, all individuals who commit moving
traffic violations have the so-called ‘propensity’ to become cop killers.To elevate theft to the brazen and callous
level of murder or rape is to give a docile burglar far more bravado than they
I have been in prison going on a decade and I have had the
dubious honor of becoming acquainted with more than a dozen or so burglars who
by nature are opportunist thieves who operate by cunning and stealth.
All were drug addicts who for the most part are afraid of
confrontation.All were committing
thefts in order to procure the illicit drugs necessary to ease their physical
and emotional anguish.
The only violence committed by these people are against
themselves.For God’s sake people, I
implore you!These people warrant
treatment for their addiction and not death.
To attach the label of potential killer and rapist to a
common thief in order to justify the unwarranted and massive expenditure of tax
dollars towards a burgeoning prison industry is ethically and morally wrong,
2008 will mark my tenth long year behind these stone
walls.Most of those years have been
insufferable and dehumanizing, filled with racial hatred, suffering, violence
and death.CDC offers nothing to a
wounded soul who seeks spiritual and emotional healing.
Despite all this negativity, despite all the indifference
and callousness shown to California
state prisoners, we continue to cling to our humanity and we acknowledge that
as human beings we are worthy of redemption.We pray that society recognize our anguish and that of our loved ones
and supporters who from love and compassion have willingly nailed themselves to
our cross of pain and injustice.
I entreat you ladies and gentlemen, to please not cut adrift
as a political liability, those serving life sentences for burglary.Were this to occur, the death knell would
sound for hundreds of human beings who for lack of education simply cannot
articulate the pathos to which as human beings, we are all bound.
May God save us all.
Shalom and blessed be with palms pressed.