Racial Disparity Featured Stories
Former nurse Dorothy Gaines lived a simple life in Mobile, Alabama. She was a devoted mother who never separated from her children. She was a self-proclaimed PTA mom and always brought snacks to the football field where her son played on the team, and her daughter was a cheerleader.
In August 1993, her life changed as Alabama state police raided her home for drugs. Police found no evidence of Gaines having possessed or sold drugs, and Gaines states she was not aware that her then boyfriend was a low-level drug dealer. Though the state dropped all charges, federal prosecutors charged Gaines with drug conspiracy eight months later – charges that to this day, she disputes. She refused to plead guilty or provide testimony against defendants and was sentenced to serve 19 years and 7 months.
Theresa McIntyre Smith
“I raised four daughters – three of them are college graduates and you think I have time to sell drugs? I don’t think so,” – Theresa McIntyre Smith
Willie Mays Aikens
Willie Mays Aikens, former first baseman for the Kansas City Royals, made baseball history when he became the first player to have a pair of two-homer games in the 1980 World Series. Years later he made another kind of history when a longstanding addiction to cocaine ended his baseball career and ultimately led to a nearly 21-year sentence for selling crack cocaine to an undercover officer. Finally, in 2008, he again made headlines when a federal judge reduced his lengthy prison term to 14 years as a result of the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s recent adjustment to the crack cocaine sentencing guidelines. Aikens was released in June.
Lawrence and Lamont Garrison
Identical twins Lawrence and Lamont Garrison were inseparable. In elementary school, one would rush to the other’s classroom and wait until he was dismissed. Living in the same house in Washington, D.C. that their mother and grandmother had grown up in, they attended Howard University together. Both worked part time to help pay their tuition – Lamont for the Department of Justice and Lawrence for the Department of Energy. Good students and aspiring lawyers, the twins graduated together in May 1998.