West Texas woman submits petition to President Trump for sentence reduction

Published: Jun. 3, 2019 at 11:01 PM CDT
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A West Texas woman who has spent the last 11 years in prison for conspiracy charges related to drugs is petitioning President Trump for a sentence reduction.

It is actually the second clemency petition that Crystal Munoz has made for a sentence reduction.

The first one was submitted to Former President Barack Obama back in 2013.

It was denied, but it hasn't stopped the Munoz family from continuing to fight for their wife and mother to come home.

According to the latest petition filed by Texas A&M University's Criminal Defense Clinic, their mother Crystal Munoz was found guilty of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute marijuana back in 2008 - when her oldest daughter Sarai was only 5 months old and youngest daughter Nova wasn't even born yet.

The girls have never known a life with their mother at home.

"I mean we've been through so much. The heartache, the pain, the anger," Crystal's husband, Ricky Munoz said. "You know especially seeing my daughters like that."

The petition for clemency and other publications explain that Crystal admitted to drawing a map that showed checkpoints a long the Mexican border for a friend, which were used in a drug ring, in exchange for car help.

"I think that the conspiracy law is a very abusive, catch-all law," activist Amy Povah said. "So, while Crystal is guilty, she didn't understand the magnitude of her actions and that she could be held responsible for illegal criminal activity that was committed by co-conspirators."

Amy Povah began the non-profit organization CAN-DO, which advocates clemency for non-violent drug offenders, after she received clemency herself from a conspiracy charge.

She said the Munoz case is a special one.

"Crystal very quickly captured my heart," Povah explained. "I was just determined to try and help Crystal in every way I could to reunite her with those babies."

Povah said it's normal to have to submit multiple petitions, and is hopeful that this time around it's different for Crystal.

Ricky told us how much of an emotional toll it's taken on him and their daughters with Crystal away.

"Tired - that's what we say a lot, that we're just tired. Mentally and physically it seems like, but especially emotionally," Ricky said. "But she's a very strong woman and she encourages me so much. You would think I was the one in prison - the way she talks to me and encourages me and the girls."

Letters in the petition filed with the United States Pardon Attorney include those from Crystal's daughters.

One of the letters states:

"I miss her and love her very much. And would love to see her home with me doing my hair every morning... Eat with her, play games and do family stuff."

If Munoz doesn't receive clemency from the Trump Administration, Ricky said she will stay in prison for about three more years.