Unfortunately, it is often during life’s trials that one finds out who their true friends are.
The man in the picture is my friend, Jonathan Sanders. He was a member of the US Navy; he is a father, son, brother, and friend among other roles. He has fought for human rights and completed tours overseas, and he is still fighting—but this time, he’s fighting for his freedom.
When Jonathan returned from overseas years ago, he realized his world had changed. During this time he reached out for help, but no one was there to help him, and in the end, he made a faulty decision when his back was against the wall. That decision involved turning to a life in the streets for financial gain, which led to a conviction. Jonathan takes responsibility for his actions. He knows that it wasn’t the right thing to do, and he wants a chance to right his wrongs, but being in prison won’t allow him to do that. Unfortunately, it’s easy to land oneself in prison, and more difficult to get out. That’s why we need criminal justice and prison reform.
No one is ever really prepared for what happens when one is indicted in a criminal case, unless they’re a lawyer. When Jonathan was sentenced, he didn’t know many of the things he knows now. Right now he is serving 2 federal mandatory minimum sentences, 1 conspiracy drug charge (10 yrs) and 1 gun charge (5 yrs). But that’s not all—he was also charged by the state of VA for the same crime and given a double sentence (15 years, 12 suspended to 3) to be served consecutively.
There are many injustices in his cases as a result of ineffective counsel, among other findings, and we would like help as we fight for justice for him.
Since his incarceration, the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the petitioner in many cases that would support Jonathan’s grounds for arguments, such as no. 16-1348, Currier v. Virginia and no. 14SC341, Ronquillo v. People, just to name a few.
Jonathan needs a federal attorney and an attorney licensed in the state of Virginia to review his cases, which is costly. When everything you had has been taken from you, you are left with nothing but hope that the good you’ve done will speak for you. That’s what Jonathan has, and that’s why we’re asking for your help through donations and support for criminal justice reform to have his case reviewed by a federal attorney. A thorough review it will take an average of 30-60 days to complete, and costs roughly $1800. If it’s determined that his case has grounds to stand in court, it will cost an additional $8000-$13000 (rough estimate). That’s why we need your help. We will be extremely transparent and post regular updates on the progress of Jonathan’s case.
Once Jonathan has been relieved, it is our hope to continue to accept donations to support criminal justice reform and help others as well, because so many of the incarcerated population become forgotten once they’re no longer part of mainstream society. It’s so much bigger than Jonathan, and we are just beginning.
We are asking you to give your voice, give a donation—no matter how small or large, give in any way you can, even by sharing this link. Just don’t be silenced—we have done that for way too long. Thank you for caring enough to read Jonathan’s story. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr @SmallGiantz4CJR.