TNC Friends -
We have just discovered that in focusing on commutation of Richard Paey's 25 year mandatory sentence, there is also the matter of a $500,000 mandatory fine! (Read more about Richard Paey here.)
Paey's case will be voted by the FL Clemency Board at their Sept 20th quarterly meeting. Near as we know it is silent on the $500,000 fine. It is possible that the fine is ASSUMED as included within the mandatory sentence. But we can't be sure the Clemency Board agrees with that interpretation.
So, please consider a letter or fax or phone call to the 4 members of the Clemency Board to remind them to commute the $500,000 fine too.
Also send copy to the Clem Board administrator at:
The Office of Executive Clemency
Handwritten letters are best, and please hurry. Identify the lower LH corner of the envelope with "Clemency Board"
The Clemency Board members are:
Governor Charlie Crist
August 20, 2007
A Message from John Flannery (Richard's Attorney)
Clemency for Richard Paey
I think like all good efforts the positive developments in Richard's case are a result of an ensemble production, many people doing a variety of things that advanced Richard's cause.
Siobhan and everyone on the list serve contributed observations and suggestions and affirmatively did things that made a difference.
Linda and the children were critical in their efforts.
Apparently Richard has circulated the book I wrote that features his case to the Governor and others.
The media has carefully and fairly followed what has happened.
What broke the log jam, however, was the fact that the three judges in the Court of Appeals following our oral argument agreed on one thing, that Richard's custody was unjust.
Two of the three judges thought they couldn't do anything about it, only the governor could. One of the three judges thought they could throw out the 25 years.
In other words, the law notwithstanding, they got the point that the man or woman on the street get, that taking your medicine cannot and should not be a crime in "trafficking" that costs you 25 years.
Everyone underscored the fact that Richard had not abused his medicine, he had not sold it, and he had not been paid a dime by anyone.
Everyone also emphasized that he was receiving the same treatment, even stronger treatment (a morphine pump), at the direction of the prison doctor.
We also told them that, if you stripped out the tylenol from the 100 percocets, and looked only at the weight of the oxycodone (the controlled substance), that richard possessed less than the weight required to get a mandatory minimum of three years, and Richard had already served 3 1/2 years.
We emphasized that Richard was dependent but not addicted to the medicine he used, and that he would be able to receive this medicine upon his release.
It probably mattered that there was a change of governors, although we don't know that, as any outgoing governor might now want to act within the days remaining in his term. And there have been serious questions raised when chief executives have not carefully weighed clemency petitions.
It may have mattered that the counsel who argued the other side against us at oral argument for the attorney general offered case authority in support of our position showing some class that may hav enhanced our position with the court and in the clemency process that has followed that argument.
These are the elements we've emphasised in pursuing Richard's clemency petition.
When the Supreme Court of Florida turned down our petition, we decided to forego a petition to the Supreme Court of the United States, and rely on the "grace" of the governor to set this matter right.
We weren't sure this Supreme Court would respond, not after the arguments we made in McIver were rejected. But we had also gotten favorable responses from the State and did not want to compromise the dialogue that seemed already underway.
We believe that we were advanced in the calendar, to have Richard's clemency petition considered, because of our argument that arguably Richard had already spent more time than he should have, and, if they didn't waive the rules, that he would be considered for another 4 or more years.
The Florida Parole Commission and then the Cabinet embraced some or all of these arguments and it appears that we are on a fast track for consideration for release.
Obviously, we are hopeful that the result will be favorable and that Richard will be released. Linda is right, the alternative is custody for years, perhaps for the full 25 years.
They could have put us on the December calendar and it still depends on the investigator getting whatever report he has by September 5th in order for us to have our hearing on September 20th.
The Florida Parole Commission investigator spoke to Richard on Friday shortly after Richard and I spoke about recent developments.
I think we have succeeded as far as we have because of all the people who agree that there's something wrong with Richard's case, and because we have a truth that rings true and we have, for whatever combination of reasons, a receptive audience in this governor and his cabinet and the staff that supports this procedural machinery.
Anyone who wants to continue to help might read our petition for clemency and our request for waiver and write asking the governor to commute Richard's sentence to time served and eliminating the $500,000 fine so that Richard can rejoin Linda and his children and get on with his life.
Keep Richard and his family in mind and in your prayers. Thank you for your time and kind attention to this matter.
John P. Flannery II
Author of "Pain in America", available soon from Ithaca Manor Press
We are careful not to duplicate the efforts of other organizations, and as a grassroots coalition of prisoners and social reformers, our resources (time and money) are limited. The vast expertise and scope of the various drug reform organizations will enable you to stay informed on the ever-changing, many-faceted aspects of the movement. Our colleagues in reform also give the latest drug war news. Please check their websites often.