The Champion

November 2007 , Page 8 

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By Molly M. FAMM

Read more 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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