Over-prosecution Meets Mandatory Minimum Sentences Meets the Drug War

“Our government has seemingly forgot the age old wisdom that in war, the first casualty is always the truth.” – Richard Paey

We've almost won this drug war!

 All I can say is that lucky the Jena 6 youths did not commit a victimless drug offense. Then they would be looking at some serious hard time that not even Al Sharpton and a legion of protesters could get them out of. 

Case in point is the truly heartbreaking story of Richard Paey. After countless years of criminal prosecution and 3 years in jail (where ironically he was given far stronger doses of pain medication then he was accused of possessing), Paey was finally released from jail last week only thanks to a criminal pardon by the Florida govenor himself.

You see Paey was given a mandatory 25 year sentence and $500,000 fine for possessing 100 Percocet.  Much to his determination and credit, he refused the plea deal that would have forced him into 3 years of house arrest and 5 years of probation, but ended up being convicted by a jury anyway.  That’s when his mandatory minimum sentence was imposed.   

The Florida cases of Richard Paey and Penny Spense only highlight the ever-increasing absurdity and draconian nature of the War of Drugs.  One of the few common-sense organizations that seems to even give a damn about this issue is the Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), whose website correctly points out “Two decades after the enactment of mandatory sentences, these laws have failed to deter people from using or selling drugs: drugs are cheaper, purer and more easily obtainable than ever before.”  One has to agree, for it seems that the DEA has accomplished little nor has made a single correct decision since it was established and made Elvis a honorary DEA agent.

The Richard Paey case is but one example of the absurdity and cruelty of our current drug punishment policies.  I just have to wonder what is happening to those people not fortunate enough to be showcased, as Paey was, by major media outlets such as the New York Times and 60 Minutes. 

Do these sentences come close to being justified and making sense?  Is this how we really want to treat someone who makes a mistake in life and sold drugs?  Do they truly deserve to have 25 years of their life taken away?  Before you answer, perhaps consider that one day that person may be your daughter, your friend, or other loved one.


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