Things got better for Ruben,  He was chosen by CP-14  and an attorney was assigned to do his Clemency Petition. 

You can read about the  horror of having a mentally ill cell mate and what it means to a nonviolent offender like Ruben in the piece below.  I wrote about the incident 3 years ago.  Ruben worked hard to get the incident report removed from his prison record.  He was successful.  He began to build his prison resume and became a mentor.  The best thing that happened is that he was moved from a USP to and FCI and the quality of his life changed dramatically. 

Ruben is now near his family and has had visits from his sister and children. 

The unfortunate development was that Ruben's CP-14 attorney did not file his petition till mid December of this year.  We now believe that it is in the  Pardon Attorney's Office, but it did not meet the deadline.  Never- the less, we believe that Ruben is an excellent candidate for a commutation.

He is a nonviolent marijuana offender whose first trial ended in a hung jury.  They tried him again, but the fact that there was so much question about the facts of this case should speak to the need for compassion and mercy.  Ruben needs a commutation.

Life For Pot

Up Date

Ruben is now in an FCI in Tucson. This is a much better facility for him and it is closer to his family. He has had visits from his sister and his children.  Hector needs clemency so he can return to them.


Ruben had an incident free record until the recent problem with a mentally ill cell mate. He was put in isolation and all his legal papers have disappeared. His sister and her husband will try to replace his legal books – one at a time.

Hector “Ruben” McGurk was charged on August 18, 2002 and went to trial in December of 2004. At this trial he was acquitted of Count 2 – Importation of marijuana. At this trial the defense did not offer any exculpatory documents and no defense witnesses were called the jury simply did not believe the government proved its case.

In April of 2005 Ruben was retried on conspiracy to possess and distribute marijuana and conspiracy to money-launder. At this trial, Hector was convicted and sentenced to life without parole. Ruben is a first time offender and there is no violence in the case or his past. Conspiracy is a charge that only requires testimony rather than physical evidence.

Until this year Ruben had been incident free in the BOP even though as a nonviolent marijuana offender he was housed with inmates convicted of violent crimes. This demonstrates an inordinate amount of self-control. 
Because he is housed far from his family, for economic reasons he has not have visits for eight years.

There have been recent incidents for nonviolent offenders who are housed with violent and mentally ill inmates. Unfortunately this was a problem for Ruben this year.

Ruben was housed in a cell with an inmate that was hearing voices and was refusing to take his mood stabilizing medication. He was making “death threats” against Ruben and other inmates and still he was not separated from them. There was a 20 second scuffle and the cellmate lunged at him, grabbed his beard and tried to pull Ruben down. Ruben hit him to release his grip on him and pulled his shirt over his head and sat down on the bunk. Ruben is a much larger man and had he intended bodily harm ho could have injured him rather than just restraining him.

This unfortunate incident tarnished Rubens perfect prison record and he was sent to the SHU and transferred to a USP. He lost his legal documents when they were confiscated. This is the life of a prisoner living in a small cell with the mentally ill.

Ruben should not have to serve a sentence of life without parole as a nonviolent marijuana offender.

Up Date

Ruben's CP-14 attorney did not file Ruben's petition for commutation till Dec. 2016. 

Ruben's petition was not filed in time for him to be considered for CP=14.

His Petition for commutation was held over into the Trump Administration.  He is still waiting for an answer.

Hector "RUBEN" McGurk

Hector Ruben McGurk  25843-180                                                

​FCI Tucson                                                                                                                           P.O Box 23811                                                                                                                    Tucson, AZ. 85734

Ruben’s sister and her husband speak softly when they talk about what has happened to this brother. They talk about the first trial where the jury did not convict him. They would like to visit but they are thousands of miles away and are both old with recent health problems. His sister sighs and says that Hector is also getting old and needs care. He is a diabetic a difficult disease to control. Ruben’s marriage was destroyed by the case and his two youngest children have no contact.