I hope with all my heart that you will read this letter.
And believe me, hope is something I know a lot about.
Because for over eight years, hope was the only thing that kept me alive.
My name is Stephanie Mohr. If my name rings a bell, you may recall that I used to be a police officer with the Prince George’s County Police Department in Maryland.
For nearly eight years, this photo was all I had of him Because instead of tucking Adam into bed each night… and leaning down to give him one last butterfly kiss…
I spent eight years of my life in a jail cell for a “crime” I didn’t commit.
On the night of September 21, 1995, I was on patrol with my police dog, Valk.
I was called to a commercial burglary in Takoma Park, Maryland – the area had been suffering a rash of burglaries.
When we arrived, the situation was tense.
The two suspects – Ricardo Mendez and Herrera Cruz – had been ordered down from the roof and told to face a wall.
They were shouting back and forth to each other in a stream of Spanish.
And then, Mendez made a move – as if to flee.
I instantly released my dog, Valk, who was trained to perform the police department’s standard “bite and hold.”
That’s exactly what Valk did – he bit Mendez on the leg and held him until the other officers and I could handcuff him.
Thankfully, a police helicopter was overhead and had monitored the arrest. Both of the suspects were charged with 4th degree burglary. Herrera Cruz pled guilty. He was sentenced to time served and deported back to Mexico.
Mendez was convicted of illegally entering the United States and selling crack cocaine – he was deported to El Salvador.
As for me, I was relieved to get to dangerous drug dealers off our streets.
So imagine my shock – five years later – when the U.S. Department of Justice announced it was going to indict me for “violating Ricardo Mendez’s civil rights” by allowing my police dog to bite and hold his leg!
At first, I simply could not believe it.
I had received more than 25 letters of commendation and two awards during my years on the police force.
And my fellow officers testified in court that I had done my job by the book that night.
The jury agreed and voted 11-1 in favor of acquittal.
In spite of this, the government decided to try me again on that one charge.
They even flew the two illegal aliens – convicted criminals – back to the U.S. to testify against me!
At the end of the second trial I was convicted for releasing my police dog on a burglary suspect and sentenced to TEN YEARS in federal prison!
Ten years – for putting my life on the line every day and arresting dangerous drug dealers!
I was sent to the Alderson, West Virginia prison… where I would spend eight years of my 10-year sentence.
I thought about Adam every minute.
It was an unimaginable pain — maybe something only a mother can feel.
Thankfully, I was released after eight and a half years – but rebuilding my life had its own pain.
When I was released, I was required to live in a half-way house, I lost my career in law enforcement, and I’m still not allowed to vote or own a firearm.
Never mind the fact that it’s been a struggle to find work since most businesses don’t want to hire a convicted felon.
But there has been one friend who has stood by my side throughout this entire ordeal:
The Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund.
If you’ve ever heard of LELDF, then you know they’re the best friend a police officer could ever have.
LELDF helps defend good officers who have been unfairly persecuted for the split-second decisions they made in the line of duty.
They helped pay my legal bills 19 years ago after my trial and were there to welcome me home after prison.
And now as they’ve watched me struggle to make a living, they are launching a formal “PARDON PETITION” to President Trump to clear my name, restore my rights, and rebuild my life.
There’s nothing I can do to ever get back those eight years I spent in prison.
But clearing my name with a Presidential Pardon would finally give me hope and a future.
A pardon from President Obama would have been impossible. He was not a friend of police.
But you and I both know President Trump’s pro-police record. And he also recently pardoned several brave members of our military.
Thankfully, LELDF is reaching out to kind-hearted patriots across the country in an effort to flood President Trump’s desk with pardon request on my behalf.
After spending over eight years in prison, I never take a single day of my freedom for granted. So thank you, from the bottom of my heard, for taking the time to read my letter today.