Former Hampton Student Kemba Smith
Warns Against Drug Life
Kemba Smith, who spent six years in prison and was pardoned by President Clinton in December, told college students at Norfolk State University last month that drug life kills.
“What sparkles on the outside isn’t always gold,” Smith, 29, said at a Black History Month event at the university. “The cars, the money, all that goes with it is only temporary.”
Smith, now a student at Virginia Union University, was convicted of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine in 1994 and sentenced to 24-1/2 years in prison without parole for helping her boyfriend, Peter Hall, head of a violent drug ring. The stiff sentence turned Smith into a symbol of the movement against mandatory sentencing laws for first-time drug offenders.
Smith says she wasn’t blameless, and that the bad choices she made 10 years ago tarnished her life.
Smith met Hall, who was eight years her senior, while she attended Hampton University. In court papers, she said she got involved in his crack cocaine ring to keep him from beating her. She became a fugitive with Hall in 1993 and surrendered in September 1994. Hall was shot to death in Seattle a month later.
Smith pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy, laundering money and lying to federal prosecutors.
© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com