Monday, December 31, 2012

Irma Muniz Seeks a Meeting With President Barack Obama

Irma L. Muñiz
PMB 216 5403 Everhart Road
Corpus Christi, TX  78411
(409) 363-1878

                                                         December 31, 2012

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Re: Ramiro “Ramsey” Muñiz

To the Honorable President Barack Obama:

I take this opportunity to appeal to your sense of justice and mercy to please release my husband from prison.  Ramiro “Ramsey” Muñiz, is now 70 years of age and he is now close to completing twenty years of a life sentence that resulted from a “three strikes and you are out” law in the state of Texas.  He is sorrowful that his poor judgment contributed to his conviction, and he wishes to spend the years that he has left with family members who have shared in the pain and suffering of his lengthy incarceration.

I would like to discuss my husband’s situation with you at your earliest convenience. I pray that you find it in your heart to send Ramsey home where he can be properly cared for in the time that he has left. 
                                                     In prayer,
                                                                  Irma Muñiz


An Appeal for Clemency on Behalf of Ramiro “Ramsey” Muñiz

National Committee to Free Ramsey Muñiz
Contact: Dr. Emilio Zamora
512 739-0168

The National Committee to Free Ramsey Muñiz requests President Barack Obama to commute Muñiz’s life sentence and restore his freedom.  Attorneys representing Muñiz are preparing a second application for a Commutation of Sentence that will be submitted to the Department of Justice and the Office of the President. In this document, however, we introduce the President to Muñiz and plead for clemency, mostly on moral and symbolic grounds.

Muñiz showed singular discipline and determination at an early age.  Born and raised in a poor, predominantly Mexican American community of Corpus Christi, Texas he contributed to his family’s earnings by setting pins at a bowling alley until 10:00 in the evening and delivering newspapers before the start of school.  Muñiz also excelled in school and in football.

Football scouts from Baylor University singled out Muñiz for his extraordinary athletic ability and awarded him a four-year scholarship.  He did very well in the classroom and became an outstanding player in the Southwest Conference.  Muñiz recalls that he was motivated by a deep desire to please his mother and the hope to better provide for his family.

Muñiz earned a Bachelor of Arts and Science Degree in Political Science and Master’s Degree in History from Baylor University.  His grades and high score on the Law School Admissions Test made it possible for Muñiz to attend Baylor School of Law, all the while working as an assistant football coach at the same university.

While attending law school, Muñiz demonstrated a passion for civil rights and began working on behalf of Mexican American and African American communities in Central Texas.  He is especially proud of his work with the Model Cities Program in Waco, especially in Head Start, breakfast, and dropout prevention programs for minority youth in the area. Muñiz was also instrumental in creating a Community Center in Waco, Texas.  A good number of citizens from Central Texas still remember Ramsey for his generous and dedicated community service.

Once Muñiz received his Juris Doctorate degree in law, he sought the office of Governor of the State of Texas in order to speak out for the rights of poor Texans who lacked effective political representation.  His 1972 and 1974 campaigns as a Raza Unida Party candidate demonstrated his genuine concern for extending justice and equality to poor Mexican Americans, African Americans, and European Americans. Drug charges, however, cut short his promising political career.

Muñiz was sentenced to life without parole in federal court in the Northern District of Texas in 1994 under the newly enacted “Three Strikes and You Are Out” statute.  This occurred after the sentencing Judge in the 1994 drug conviction held that Muniz’s two prior drug indictments, one in the San Antonio Division of the Western District of Texas and the other in the Corpus Christi Division of the Southern District of Texas (for which Muniz had pled guilty in the 1970’s) constituted two separate prior felony convictions.  Ramsey’s attorney in both the San Antonio and Corpus Christi cases had entered into an agreement with the federal prosecutor that both sentences were to be combined into one and that a federal prosecutor’s affidavit would reflect this understanding.

During the 1994 sentencing, defense attorney Dick DeGuerin introduced the federal prosecutor’s affidavit into evidence.  The sentencing Judge (the same one who had presided over the trial) disregarded it and ruled that the Three Strikes Statute still applied.  If the Judge had ruled otherwise and Muniz had not been deemed a career criminal, he would have already served his sentence, especially if authorities had also credited him for good time.

The Texas Criminal Justice Policy Council recently issued a report that underscores the excessive nature of the 1994 ruling.  The Council notes that aggravated violent offenders convicted in 1994 served an average of 5.85 years while nonviolent offenders typically served 3.74 years. This means that the majority of persons convicted in 1994, including violent offenders, were most probably released by 2000.

Legal issues notwithstanding, our major concern is that Muñiz is approaching 20 years of incarceration, an excessive amount of time for someone who has never committed a violent act in his life. Also, Ramsey turned 70 on December 13, 2012 and, according to life expectancy projections, he has few years to live.  A relevant study on recidivism by the United States Justice Department states that persons above 55 years of age return to prison at the low rate of 2 percent.

The wife, children, mother-in-law, and siblings of Ramsey Muñiz have undergone their own continuous pain and suffering. This has been made all the more difficult by enduring the distance that has long separated them from him.

We must add the incalculable worth of Muñiz’s political legacy in our appeal.  He modeled a caring progressive leadership with his support for public education, local community control, bilingual education, public health, and women’s and workers’ rights.  Ramsey also inspired a generation of young Mexican Americans who entered politics in the 1970s and now serve as leaders in government, business, and education.  Ramsey has great symbolic value for the Mexican American community; he embodied the historic hope for change and the tragedy of unfulfilled dreams at a time of striking social needs and collective resolve for change.  History and community, in other words, add symbolic weight to our appeal.

Everyone who is close to Muñiz knows that he does not represent a threat to society.  His non-violent past, along with his exemplary conduct before and after his incarceration, offers ample proof of his peaceful nature.  Muñiz expressed his pacific countenance and commitment to live his life well in a letter to President Barack Obama, “I am not a threat to society. I have learned the importance of using good judgment in my selection of acquaintances and friends, and I intend to live the remaining years of my life with my loving wife and family.”

Muñiz is a loving person in all his relationships, as a father, a brother, a son-in-law to a mother who regards him as her son, an uncle, and grandfather. He is also a mentor and friend to many persons. His wife, family members, and friends have responded with their own steadfast love.  They have supported him throughout his long incarceration, believing that his suffering will end when President Obama grants him the freedom that he deserves. Their greatest hope is that his family will be finally reunited.

Our appeal has attracted the attention and support of national organizations such as the League of United Latin American Citizens (National and Texas LULAC), the League of Latin American Citizens, the American GI Forum, and Friends of Justice.  Congressmen, attorneys, and educators from throughout the country have also joined our cause. Public support continues to grow as we appeal for the release of Ramsey Muñiz, a man who has done so much to improve and advance the lives of others.


Consult the following for information on Ramiro “Ramsey” Muñiz and the Raza Unida Party: Ignacio García, United We Win; The Rise and Fall of La Raza Unida Party (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1989); Teresa Palomo Acosta, “Raza Unida Party”;, Accessed November 2012; Steve Fischer, “Its Time to Free Ramsey Muñiz,” Corpus Christi Caller,,, Accessed November 2012; Allen J. Beck, Ph.D., Timothy A. Hughes, Doris J. James Wilson, “Trends in State Parole, 1990-2000,” October 3, 2001,, Accessed November 2012.