Calif. Vet Needs Help Avoiding Mandatory Minimum
I'm writing again because his preliminary hearing is November 16, and he needs your help. Please send a letter to convince the D.A. to offer a reasonable deal.
A West Point graduate who is currently facing twenty-odd years in prison for robbing a Walgreens under California's minimum sentencing laws. He used a gun (unloaded) and robbed the drugstores of only Percocet - no money, harming nobody.
Here's the kicker -- he was addicted to the opiates after smashing his hip while serving abroad in the Army -- the military medical system
kept misdiagnosing him, and feeding him more of the painkillers. Add in some serious PTSD (he guarded mass graves in Bosnia from desecration at one point) and he spiraled down.
Sargent turned himself in, has been in a rehab program in county jail for over a year and a half while he awaits sentencing, and by all accounts is
doing well. The Santa Clara DA wants to chuck the book at him, and he'll be gone.
The California Report covered Sarge's case last week.
Increasing numbers of returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan are expected to have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. And with it comes a number of other problems -- sufferers of PTSD are more likely to get addicted to drugs and engage in high risk behavior. A recent case in Northern California has raised a difficult question: If a returned soldier with PTSD commits crimes as a result of his illness, how should the criminal justice system respond?
Even the pharmacist who was robbed is supporting Sarge. From the Support Sarge website:
The Mountain View pharmacist himself has written supporting leniency for Sargent, as have several veterans organizations, military colleagues of Sargent, and concerned California citizens. You can join them! We urge you to please take a few minutes of your time to support Sarge by putting pressure on the DA to pursue a more reasonable sentence. Write a letter, make a phone call, and help achieve rehabilitation and justice for Sargent Binkley.
It's okay if you don't know Sarge or live in Santa Clara or San Mateo County:
Even if you do not live in either of these counties and you do not know Sargent (but are opposed to mandatory minimum sentencing laws or feel strongly about how the military medical system treats our veterans), your letters and telephone calls of support are still needed.
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