About William Underwood | About INPRISON | Mandatory Minimums

Who is William Underwood?

William Underwood, is an impressive, committed and loving human being. He is a devoted Father of four, a Grandfather to three grandchildren and a former music impresario: promoting, managing and jumpstarting the careers of top R&B and pop stars of the 80s and 90s. Under the 1980s War on Drugs era of the United States, Underwood was part of the first round of convictions made under the newly enacted Sentencing Guidelines. In 1988, having never been convicted of a felony, he was arrested at 34 years old. In 1990, as a first-time drug offender he was sentenced to LIFE without PAROLE under draconian mandatory minimums.

Underwood was convicted by a general jury verdict on unspecified counts of RICO charges to (3) 20-year concurrent sentences. At trial, he objected to these findings, citing a violation of his Sixth Amendment Rights. Thereafter, a special hearing was held in the district court with the judge, prosecution and defense, no jury present, that determined that Underwood's criminal conduct continued past November 1, 1987, the effective date of the newly enacted Sentencing Guidelines. Again, Underwood objected to these findings, citing a violation of his Sixth Amendment Rights. Nonetheless, the judge under the laws of the Sentencing Guidelines gave Underwood a mandatory minimum sentence of LIFE without PAROLE. Despite, an FBI document which states his case was closed in 1986 “due to lack of activity.”

Today, William Underwood is 62 years old, and for the past quarter of a century he has been arduously seeking an appeal, but according to the law he has exhausted all resources and has been denied access to the courts. What makes Underwood’s case UNIQUE is that every case law that was used to deny his appeals have ALL been overturned and today are now deemed UNCONSTITUTIONAL by the US Supreme Court. Therefore, William Underwood may be the ONLY prisoner in the COUNTRY who has properly objected to his conviction as a violation of his Sixth Amendment Rights under the US Constitution at least 6x times:

  1. At trial
  2. At special hearing
  3. In his pre-sentencing report
  4. At sentencing
  5. In direct appeal
  6. On first § 2255

We, at INPRISON, believe that if convicted under the guideline laws that exist today, Underwood would likely be a free man. We, at INPRISON, believe that Underwood has more than served his time and because none of the case laws used against him have been made RETROACTIVE he continues to be trapped in legal limbo. William Underwood has displayed exceptional conduct in prison and has received no incident reports during his entire incarceration of over twenty-eight years.   He has taken advantage of every educational and career development opportunity made available to him in prison. He tries to keep the younger guys in prison on track to stay out of trouble, and when they leave, to stay on track. He is a changed man and has accepted responsibility for actions that led to his incarceration.  We, at INPRISON, believe that Underwood continues to serve an INHUMANE life without parole conviction

We, at INPRISON, believe that Underwood Should Be Home By NOW!


For years, prisoners, like William Underwood, have been impacted by mass incarceration and denied access to the courts, even after making US Constitution Amendment challenges to the application of Mandatory Minimums Sentencing. This appalling injustice has lead to the formation of this website, INPRISON.

Dedicated to the reaffirmation of the US Constitution Amendments in the jury trial system:

Article 2, Section 2, of the US Constitution provides that the President, "shall be Commander in Chief of the Army, ..., and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States."

Amendment I Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment IV - The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, …, but upon probable cause [...] and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V - No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, ..., nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, ...

Amendment VI - In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, ..., and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

Amendment XIV - Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; or shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Mandatory Minimums

A Message from Eric E. Sterling

I worked for the Congress for more than nine years. My job was to write laws on gun control, pornography, organized crime, money laundering, and especially drugs. I played a central role in writing the mandatory minimum sentences enacted in 1986. In 35 years as a lawyer, it was the worst thing I ever did. These laws were not primarily designed or intended to protect public health or safety but were first about advancing the careers of Members of Congress and agency managers. In the 1980s when I was involved, the goal of writing drug laws was to advance the prospects of one political party over another.

The war on drugs is the domestic government program that is most damaging to the public at large. It depends upon betraying the trust of citizens, and it is operates most effectively when its lies are believed. Drug prohibition creates crime. It fosters the corruption of police, prosecutors, judges and other judiciary. It has helped build our gulag of prisoners.

Eric E. Sterling

President, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation