paul free

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Paul Free

​42235-198  age 64
​Atwater USP
PO Box 019001
Atwater, CA. 95301

Life without Parole for a Nonviolent Marijuana Offense

August 27,1950, Paul Free was born in Coronado California to Charles and Maxine Free. They owned and operated an independent grocery store where both his parents worked. Paul was the youngest of two sons.

Life For Pot

Two months before he was arrested, Paul received his BS from San Diego University in Marine Biology. Paul’s stated business at the time of his incarceration was buying commodities in Brazil and selling them in China. He was living in Mexico at the time and was teaching English and in the process of organizing a school.

Paul is an attractive man with an engaging personality. He has may advocates who worked for his clemency .  Paul is articulate, well informed and an interesting correspondent.

While in prison, Paul has taught GED classes and reading to other inmates. He has been told that his classes have the highest graduation rate in the US Prison System and he also routinely helps inmates with their legal documents and per se filings. He finds great satisfaction when he has a success in this area.

Before he began living in Mexico from 1989 – 1992 Paul was the manager at the Coronado Play House in Coronado California.

A couple of years ago Paul had a medical incident and this is what he wrote about it. Even though this is about a medical incident – it is a snippet of Paul’s skills, relationships, and interests. If there is a question about character or interests, Paul describes this episode very well:

I was trying to complete a brief for a good friend. I had been researching his issues forever. I started typing and got so involved that I forgot to get up and walk around or exercise. I had been exercising at least three times each week but, for a period of ten days, I did nothing but type. Finally I set my watch alarm for 1 PM. When it went off I got up from my desk and went directly to the little exercise room we have and began a good work out.

Instead of taking it a bit slow, as I had been off for ten days, oh no, I had to go right from one set directly into the next with no break in between. On my 4th set, on the Stair Master, I became confused. I wondered whether I stop at 50 or 100 rep's. I got off at 50 and immediately realized that I always do 100 on each leg so I got back on and started counting from 50.

All of a sudden I felt as if I were going to pass out and perhaps get sick so I got off. I didn't want to be in the room where no one would find me for a long time so I walked out and went up to my cell but was afraid to go in for the same reasons so I stood out on the rail.

An acquaintance of mine, an ex-EMT Fire Captain who lives two doors down, just happened to pass by and, as we always do, he said: "Hey Paul, how are you?" to which I Responded ... well ... I have no idea what I said but he looked at me and told me to sit down. He then proceeded to ask me some questions. I could not identify anyone. I recognized the faces but could not say their names. I did not know how old I was.

I thought "Oh great, just one more thing the Lord has laid upon me that I have to deal with" and I kind of thought the whole thing was humorous. I could remember my mother's maiden name and my father's middle name and all the multiplication tables but no names of any of the men I've known for as long as ten years. What a trip. Getting old is ... no fun .. or absolutely hilarious depending on your point of reference.

So, that occurred on Tuesday, October 11th. I actually walked down to the chow hall thinking: "I sure hope I can find my way back." I got there and left without eating. I wasn't hungry. When I got back I got in the shower and stayed there for a very long time. After a while I looked out and saw a man I've known for years walking up the tier. I knew his name was Craig. So, there I was, standing completely naked, and I yelled out "Hey Craig I know your name!" You should have seen the look he gave me! So, after about 2 hours it all started coming back.

I began to recognize the names and faces of everyone and I remembered how old I was (too old). The next day, Wednesday, I went to the hospital/clinic and explained what happened to the "nurse" She informed me that there are no Sick Call sign ups on Wednesdays and I'd have to put in a Sick Call form on Thursday.

Time passes – one month later – Paul saw a Dr.

Anyway, he set me up to get two MRI's: one of my brain and another of my neck, plus, an ultrasound of my Carotid Arteries. Apparently I/we can't detect any paralysis so maybe I didn't have a stroke. A month after the incident I was taken out to a local Hospital and given the above mentioned tests.

I got to ride in a van and I saw three camels, an alpaca and a bunch of cows, donkeys and horses plus some pretty nurses who were extremely kind. They actually smiled too. Merced California is a very beautiful city. Lots of tress, I mean LOTS of trees. Last March I got to see many in bloom. This time many were in their Fall colors. Beautiful.

So, if I want to find out the results it looks like I have to put in a Sick Call Slip and have another $2 deducted from my account so they will call me in and tell me the results. I might as well wait to see if they take me out for surgery ... or to the morgue

Paul’s mother died at the age of 100. Her care taker held the phone to her ear so that Paul could tell her good-bye.

Paul Free received a life without parole for a nonviolent marijuana offense. He was charged and prosecuted for conspiracy and as is the case with most inmates serving life for nonviolent marijuana convictions – the case was developed through a reverse sting – Paul chose to exercise his 6th Amendment Right to Trial and witnesses were testifying for their plea agreements. Paul has some hope that statements from a cooperating witness saying his testimony was coaxed will result in sentencing relief and release.

Arrested in 94, one previous offense in 76
Taught GED courses since incarcerated – classes have highest grad rate in fed system.
Teaches inmates how to read
Activities in Prison -works for Unicor - The Name for the Prison Industry. 
He helps prisoners w/ legal issues and taught GED classes.
Paul had a sentence of 3 years for a previous marijuana offense.Life without Parole for a Nonviolent Marijuana Offense