Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Update: Richard Paey Pardoned

Richard Paey has finally been pardoned. (Previously: 1, 2.)
In October of this year, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signed a pardon for Richard Paey, a paraplegic with multiple sclerosis who had served nearly four years of a 25-year prison sentence for drug trafficking. Paey, who requires high-dose opioid therapy to treat pain brought on by his MS, a car accident, and a botched back surgery, was convicted of trafficking despite concessions from prosecutors that there was no evidence the painkillers in his possession were for anything other than his own use. When police came to arrest the wheel-chair bound Paey, they came with a full-on SWAT team, battering down the door and rushing into the home of the wheelchair-bound Paey, his optometrist wife, and their two schoolage children.

Prosecutors offered Paey a plea bargain, but he refused, insisting that he’d done nothing wrong, and that he shouldn’t have to plead guilty to a felony for treating his own pain. Paey was tried, convicted, and given a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence. While in prison, the state of Florida paid for a morphine pump that administered painkillers to Paey at rates higher than what the state convicted him of for possessing in the first place.

Crist and Florida’s pardon board issued Paey’s pardon after heavy media coverage of his case, including by 60 Minutes, and the New York Times, as well as by reason’s own Jacob Sullum and Radley Balko.

Paey's story is straight out of Kafka. Convicted for possession of drugs that he needed to treat his pain, he was given higher doses in prison by the government than he was convicted for possessing.

Kudos to Governor Crist for finally making it right. Jeb Bush had refused to do so.

Read the whole story, which includes an interview.


Skeptodox said...

What's crazier is that he would still be in prison if not for the media coverage.

Lester Hunt said...

Yes, the media do good things occasionally.

abandoning eden said...

just more evidence that the war on drugs is an overzealous waste of money

Independent Accountant said...

This only means we have too many cops and too many prosecutors. When the public demands that cops enforce criminal laws, they will. This case is nonsense.