This is a letter from Maria Lloyd to Judge Marvin Aspen who sentenced her father to 15 life sentences for her father’s first nonviolent offense. This matter, matters like them, and all the “legal” issues related therein, are becoming matters of faith for me. I’d love to know what you think. I’d love, simply, to have you thinking of this as I am.
Dear Judge Marvin E. Aspen:
It took me some time to address you because I didn’t know you were the source of my anger until recently. In case you care to know who I am, I’m Maria Lloyd- the daughter of Mario Lloyd, the non-violent, first-time offender from Chicago. You sentenced him to 15 life sentences without parole on May 11, 1989. He has been incarcerated since I was the age of two. In addition to sending my father to prison, you also sentenced my grandmother, my aunt, and my uncle. You basically incarcerated my entire family.
I’m not one to make excuses for anyone’s poor decisions, including those of my own family. They broke the law, so they deserved punishment. I get it. I also get the point you were proving in punishing them: Drug trafficking is not tolerated in the state of Illinois. It’s quite obvious you were taking a very personal stand against the War on Drugs. Well, as you can imagine, I have too, but I’m sure our views differ.
Even if one argues that my family deserved to go to prison for the distribution of drugs, does my father deserve to be incarcerated for life? Do you really think he deserves to die in prison? My four siblings and I have literally faced hell because of our father’s incarceration. I truly believe my eldest brother, who is now deceased, wouldn’t have diedat the hands of violence if my father wasn’t incarcerated.
You have no idea how much embarrassment, confusion, and heartache a child faces when handed an Emergency Contact Form requesting contact information for mom and dad. For years, I’d write my father’s name and ask my mom if I could write the prison’s information on the lines requesting his address and phone number. “Daddy-Daughter” socials were the worst. Instead of enjoying the festivities, I would stay home in shame because of my father’s incarceration. I’m still haunted by those experiences to this very day, and I have yet to recover emotionally.
I can’t believe the word “Honorable” is placed before your name and title. What’s honorable about your work? Nothing. Because of you, I haven’t recited the Pledge of Allegiance in years. Liberty and justice aren’t for “all”, it’s reserved exclusively for the wealthy which are generally of European descent.
I know my dad deserved to be punished for his crimes- I accept that. But, for a non-violent, first time offense, 15 life sentences is far too harsh. By giving a life sentence to my father, you also sentenced me to a lifetime of misery that comes from losing the man I’ve loved since birth. My father has spent 23 years of my life in prison. Now, I pray that men like you will never be allowed to ruin a family again. To be honest, I don’t wish hardship upon you but I definitely don’t wish you well.
I found the letter here.