I’m Barry Michaels and I started Americans For Civil Rights as an IRS 501c3 non-profit public charity to help reduce the high rate of recidivism (revolving prison door). I did not choose this arbitrarily; I chose it because i’m a felon and I have personal knowledge on the subject, one that affects millions of Americans, either personally or financially. I expect AFCR to offer additional opportunities to law abiding prior offenders which are otherwise unavailable.
My career began nearly fifty years ago as a Doctor of Chiropractic, from there I quickly moved into the world of business, where I spent the next 40 plus years starting and managing businesses from a pizza parlor to a national airline.
Twenty years ago I plead guilty to securities fraud and a tax violation involving an airline I had started in 1992. In December 1997 I entered a guilty plea to a 12 page written plea agreement which called for a sentence of 0 – 10 months. To my surprise and horror when I was sentenced the following June, the court refused to honor the agreement, instead sentenced me to 21 months in prison. I quickly realized according to the law, I was unable to withdraw my guilty plea. See: http://www.americansforcivilrights.org/plea-agreements/
A few months later, I surrendered to the Nellis Federal Prison Camp in North Las Vegas and spent the next 15 months there. From that point on, I spent most of my time was in the prison law library fighting my conviction all the way to the Supreme Court. It was at this time, I fell in love with the law and promised myself, upon my release I would go to law school.
Once released, I was placed on three years probation and remember how difficult that probation officer made it for me. Instead of assisting me in making the transition an easy one, it was as if he wanted me back in prison.
It was a time when computers were not as sophisticated as they are today. Instant background checks for housing or employment had not yet begun making it easier for me to find an apartment and start a business, which I did.
When most people my age were planning their retirement, I was applying to law school. After receiving rejection after rejection, I enrolled at UNLV and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Master’s in Public Administration. It was during this time that I got a great exposure to our political system. Since then I’ve taken numerous classes in the United States Constitution, Civil/Criminal Law. and read hundreds of Supreme Court and lower court opinions.
Its now 20 years later, and even though I succeeded where others have failed, there are still times i’m treated as a second-class citizen, often in my own business. Part of the problem is we need to change the way people think……once a felon, always a felon. Its time for change!
I decided for the first time in 2005 to run for U.S. Congress to represent Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District. Its funny, for If I had won, I could then sit on any Committees including Armed Services, but I would still have no Second Amendment right to protect myself and my family.
It was February 2016 when I decided to fight back by filing a lawsuit against the federal government for among other things, depriving me of my Second Amendment rights. I expect this suit to open the door to other social justice issues including making felons that have served their time, a protected class when it comes to employment, housing and voting discrimination.
The suit is currently at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and is expected to eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court with issues never before addressed by the court. See: http://www.michaelsvslynch.com I believe the suit is more about “a felon for life” than it is about guns. A positive outcome would be good for our country and even better for our taxpayers.
ITS TIME FOR CHANGE – I ask that you read the U.S. Constitution and learn it. See: http://www.americansforcivilrights.org/united-states-constitution/
I can still recall the inscription engraved above the front door of my high school “education is the true foundation of civil liberty” James Madison, Our Constitution makes no reference to second class citizens or loss of individual rights.