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By Molly M. FAMM
NACDL News columns.
FAMM Seeks Commutation Cases To Spark Sentencing Reform
On September 20, 2007, Richard Paey, a wheelchair-bound chronic pain
patient, left the prison in which he had once expected to die and went
home to his wife and children. Paey had served over three years of a
25-year mandatory minimum sentence when he sought a commutation from
Gov. Charlie Crist (R) and the Florida Executive Clemency Board. The
governor and the board surprisingly and unanimously agreed that Paey
should go home early — with a full pardon in hand.
Paey’s case drew nationwide media attention — and ultimately Gov.
Crist’s favor — because his lengthy prison sentence was not punishment
for murder or for being a drug kingpin. Instead, Paey was convicted
under Florida’s drug trafficking statute because he wrongfully acquired
the prescription drug oxycodone for his own use, to ease the continuous
pain he suffered as a result of a car accident, multiple sclerosis, and
several failed back surgeri
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