Ramiro (Ramsey) Muniz is one of the victims, imprisoned for life without parole on a bogus drug charge. Now age 67, he's been incarcerated nearly 17 years, earlier at Leavenworth, KS federal prison, the country's largest maximum security one, more recently at the US Medical Center, Springfield, MO recovering from life threatening complications from surgery.
In September 2009, he was transferred to the Beaumont Federal Correctional Institution, Beaumont, TX.
Friends and supporters can write him there as follows:
Ramiro "Ramsey" Muniz
Prison No. 40288-115
FCI Medium Beaumont
PO Box 26040
Beaumont, TX 77705
For years, he suffered painfully from an untreated herniated disc, knee injuries, and a deteriorated hip, only now beginning to regain his strength, yet burdened by years of injustice.
A League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) described him as follows:
A Corpus Christi, TX native, he "contributed greatly to the Chicano Civil Rights Movement during the 1970s as a leader for justice and equality for all Mexican Americans, Hispanics, and Latinos throughout the United States."
In 1972 and 1974 (at ages 30 and 32), he was Texas gubernatorial candidate for the La Raza Unida Party (RUP), established to help Mexican Americans achieve greater economic, social, and political self-determination, especially in South Texas, where, though a majority in many counties and locales, they held little or no power.
A graduate of Baylor University and its School of Law, he was a legal assistant, practicing attorney in Waco and San Antonio, TX, and activista for Latino rights since junior high and high school as a student council leader. Professionally, he championed their inclusion as teachers and politicians, including on school boards, city councils, state and federal positions. He also helped elect the first ever Mexican American Waco and Robstown, TX mayors.
His impact was profound, noted Houston attorney Dick DeGuerin (who represented Muniz) saying he:
"changed the face of politics in Texas. He gave power of inclusion to Hispanic Americans. He particularly changed the face of political offices in South Texas. There has been a lot of resentment from the Establishment because of that. A lot of people would like to see him fall because of who he is and what he did."
They got their wish. In 1976, he was framed, convicted, and imprisoned on drug conspiracy charges, the idea being to discredit him and RUP. Later, he was repeatedly stalked and spuriously charged again with crimes he didn't commit. His present troubles began innocently.
On a business trip, he was arrested on March 11, 1994 in Lewisville, TX, events unfolding as follows:
On March 10, DEA Agent Kimberly Elliott tracked Muniz to the Lewisville Ramada Inn, checked his telephone toll calls, and recorded his license plate number in the parking lot. The following day, he was entrapped after agreeing to return a prospective client's car (in fact, a government agent) to a rental company. It was a sting, 39 kilograms of cocaine planted in the trunk, uncovered by drug-sniffing dogs when he was confronted.
Prosecutors prevailed by withholding key information from the defense, intimidating jurors to convict, and getting right wing justice to go along. As a result, during proceedings, the court ruled that Agents had probable cause to stop and search regarding a suspected drug deal, though no plausible reason connected Muniz to an $800,000 one with a perfect stranger.
At trial, obvious unanswered questions were: How often do drug dealers operate this way? No money was found. Where was it? No fingerprints either. Why not? Who supplied the cocaine, and for whom? Clearly not Muniz, set up and entrapped for prosecution and imprisonment - to silence a powerful voice for Latino justice.
During proceedings, prosecutors claimed he checked into his motel under a false name to hide his identity. In fact, Ramada records proved otherwise. He was also accused of making suspicious phone calls from the lobby. In fact, all phone records confirmed they were for legitimate business. Another false claim was that motel employees alerted DEA agents about him. When interviewed, they denied it. The entire case was fabricated to convict, prosecutors doing it by lying, their usual strategy against political activists opposed to systemic injustice.
The trap was set. Muniz was bait. Events played out as planned, and, though innocent, he's now imprisoned for life without parole, one of many political prisoners in America - a shocking indictment of criminal injustice, absolving the powerful, targeting human rights, civil liberties, and equal justice defenders, Muniz one of the best.
Information about him can be accessed at FreeRamsey.com.
His moving home page comment states:
"Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of false chains and shackles, the imprisonment of innocence? I know not what others will do, but as for me I will forever continue the struggle for my freedom until I die."
After imprisonment, appeals to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and Supreme Court were denied, Muniz explaining that government prosecutors can use their "power of indictment" to invent non-existent conspiracies, then convict and incarcerate.
"I knew what the government was trying to do. The time had come to put pressure on who they believed would never compromise or change. Guess what? They were right about never compromising my principles, but the truth of what actions they took to convict me and incarcerate me will all come with time."
Often "I was in solitary confinement and knew that the government was out not only to confine me physically, but to break my will and power. Of course, as we all know, I have become stronger in my principles and convictions, and know truthfully what I advocated will" one day happen.
How? "Even now as I find myself confined in the darkness of this oppressive political system, I firmly believe with my life and heart that we, as a people, as a race, as a nation within a nation, will never be totally liberated, until we formulate and establish our 'own' political power in America."
It's why he never voted Republican or Democrat, twice ran for governor, and voted for the first time for himself. He calls his current status "in exile," saying "I will never give up (proclaiming my innocence and) claiming that my trial was not conducted fairly." Nor believing that one day he'll be vindicated and free.
On August 16, Muniz's wife Irma, Chairperson, National Committee to Free Ramsey Muniz, in a letter to Barack Obama said:
"I write to express the continued support shared by many for a Commutation of Sentence for Ramiro "Ramsey" Muniz. His case is important as he is remembered for bringing about political, educational, and economic advancements for Mexican Americans, Hispanics, and others during the Civil Rights Movement."
Incarcerated for nearly 17 years, "he has suffered greatly. (He's) been a model inmate....We ask that you consider his conduct in your decision to grant him Executive Clemency. National Hispanic organizations, federal and state representatives, and many others ask that you grant (him) an immediate Commutation of Sentence."
In a June 4 press release, the National Committee referred to "blatant injustice," highlighting the "intentionally withheld" evidence at trial, the unjust sentence and incarceration in "the hardest maximum security penitentiaries" to inflict pain and break his spirit.
Civil rights activist Jaime Martinez avowed that "There is no question in my heart and in the hearts of the people, who continue to fight against injustice in the spirit of non-violence practiced by Mahatma Gandhi and Cesar E. Chavez, that we will win his freedom."
More information can be gotten from the National Committee to Free Ramsey Muniz at 409-363-1878.
Note: Irma Muniz will be the featured guest on the Progressive Radio News Hour Sunday, August 29 at noon US Central time.
Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on August 28, 2010.