In August of 1993, Dorothy Gaines and her three children were raided by Alabama state police looking for drugs. No drugs were found and all charges were dropped by the state. How then, did Dorothy end up in a federal prison?!
Federal drug defendants lied about Dorothy's activities in exchange for a reduction in their sentences. After a trial, botched by an incompetent attorney, Dorothy was sentenced to 19 years in a federal prison. By this time, the father of Dorothy's children had passed away, leaving them parentless.
After six years in federal prison on drug conspiracy charges, a nation-wide campaign to free Ms. Gaines contributed to a release by President Clinton's order of clemency on December 22, 2000.
If you do not think this could happen to you or your family, please read further about how it happened to Dorothy…
May 27, 1958: Dorothy Gaines Birthdate.
1970: Dorothy's mother was seriously mentally ill and an alcoholic. Dorothy and her siblings moved in with their grandparents after their mother was committed to a hospital after attacking Dorothy with an ax.
1971: When Dorothy was 13, her grandfather died
1972: The next year Dorothy's father died.
1973: When Dorothy was 15 her grandmother died. At the tender age of 15, Dorothy attempted to gain legal custody of her younger siblings.
1974: Dorothy's first daughter, Natasha, is born - Dorothy is 16 years old.
1977: Dorothy, at 19, employed as a nurse technician at the University of Southern Alabama Medical Center, obtains custody 8 yr sister and 10 yr old brother.
- met Charles Taylor at a church function who became common law husband by 1982
- daughter, Chara, born in 1983 and son, Phillip, born in 1984
- Charles dies of a heart attack in 1986
1989: Dorothy began relationship with Terrel Hines,
- first person selected to become resident of affordable single family housing in Prichard, AL. These homes were reserved for families who could pass extensive character and background checks.
Children did well in school
- Natasha, graduated from high school, was attending Bishop State Community College, none of the children had discipline problems, suspension, or juvenile legal problems
- Dorothy transferred to Providence Hospital in Mobile as Tech, highly regarded by management and patients
1990, Dorothy suffered serious back injury lifting patient out of bed.
- Hines was addicted to crack in 1987
- moved Dorothy in 1990, she convinced him to enter rehab in 90-91, he was in program for 8 months
- within a few months of release, relapsed and became low-level driver for crack distribution ring
Aug 21, 1993, State Police raided Dorothy's house, where Hines was also living. After several hours of searching no drugs, no money, no weapons, no beepers, no cell phones, no drug scales, no drug paraphernalia were found.
Police removed nothing from her home but arrested both Hines and Dorothy for drug conspiracy charges.
Sep 21, 1993, State dismissed all charges against Dorothy
Dorothy ended her relationship with Hines
by early 1994, Dorothy's back injury improved enough for her to return to work at the Mobile County Board of Health.
Apr 21, 1994: she was one of 8 persons indicted by federal grand jury on drug conspiracy charges
WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO GET OUT OF PRISON?!
Federal drug defendants lied about Dorothy's activities in exchange for a reduction in their sentences.
Numerous character witnesses were present at trial and prepared to testify on Dorothy's behalf - none were called to testify.
In prior federal trials vs. Hines, 2 of the government witnesses who testified against Dorothy, had said that Dorothy was not aware drug activity.
Dorothy's court appointed counsel did not impeach the government witnesses with their prior inconsistent sworn testimony
July 29, 1994, jury found Dorothy and 3 co-defendants guilty for conspiracy to distribute crack and she was sentenced to serve 235 months in a federal prison.
Dorothy was a model inmate and was commended for possibly saving the life of fellow inmate who had been choking.
a letter a prison official, Capt R. Howard, wrote:
- "Gaines did an honorable deed rarely seen inside a prison.…helped a staff member, what also makes this note-worthy is the unselfshiness she displayed, she was able to put aside the sterotype of an inmate assisting staff. …Truly an honorable deed."
After six years in federal prison on drug conspiracy charges, a nation-wide campaign to
free Ms. Gaines contributed to a release by President Clinton's order of
clemency on December 22, 2000.