Calif. Vet Looking at Big Mandatory Minimum Sentence
Meet Sargent Binkley, an army vet currently facing twenty-plus years in Santa Clara, CA. His high school buddies are trying to publicize his plight and have set up a website. Here's his sad story.
Sargent Binkley is a high school classmate of ours and 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.
We, his friends from high school, are writing letters, making phone calls, built a website this weekend, etc., but our megaphone isn't big enough.
Sarge is set to be sentenced September 20th for his two Walgreens robberies, one in San Mateo and one in Santa Clara. The San Mateo DA is willing to mitigate the charges because of Sarge's circumstances in his county, but isn't intervening with the Santa Clara DA who wants to max him out. You can help by writing a letter to both D.A's. See below for details:
We support the elimination of California's excessive mandatory minimum sentencing laws, which give the power usually reserved to judges over to District Attorneys. But changing the law takes time that Sargent Binkley doesn't have.
Public pressure is the only thing that may cause the respective District Attorneys to reconsider; please help us in this fight by writing a letter or making a phone call as soon as you can. Two minutes of your time can help persuade District Attorneys David Howe and Rob Baker to apply a more equitable and appropriate sentence, and obtain justice for Sargent Binkley.
Check out the website and take a look at Sarge. Check out his service to this country.
Sargent was sent to Bosnia after his graduation, where he served as a peacekeeper by guarding the mass graves of genocide victims. From there he was sent to Central America, where he participated in drug interdiction operations. At one point he was ordered to open fire on a truck that contained a civilian teenage boy, an act that haunts him to this day. While on duty in Honduras, he fractured his pelvis and dislocated a hip. This injury was consistently misdiagnosed by Army physicians over the next several years, resulting in chronic pain and an addiction to prescription painkillers.
Then write a letter and support this troop. Even the pharmacist who was robbed is supporting Sarge:
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.
Here's some sample letters:Sample Letters
Santa Clara District Attorney Office
County Government Center, West Wing
70 West Hedding Street
San Jose, CA 95110
Phone: 408 299-7400
Fax: (408) 286-5437.
San Mateo Office of the District Attorney
400 County Center
Redwood City, CA 94063
Phone: 650 363-4636
Fax: (650) 363-4873
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