Clemency to Jeff Mizanskey: Life without parole for marijuana
My father Jeff Mizanskey has been in prison for 20 years and has no possibility of parole. For non-violent, marijuana-only offenses, my father has been sentenced to die in prison because of a “three strikes” mandatory sentencing policy in the State of Missouri.
Dad’s first offense was in 1984 when he sold an ounce to an undercover informant, and then was found to possess a half pound of marijuana when police raided his house the next day. His next offense occurred in 1991, when he was caught in possession of a couple of ounces. But for my father’s final strike in 1993, he became an easy fall guy in a conspiracy to distribute marijuana. My dad was driving a friend to a deal that turned out to be a sting operation. All of the other convicted men involved were set free years ago, but my dad was given a virtual death sentence.
My dad is, and always has been, a good man. He taught my brother and I all about construction and a good work ethic. He has never been violent and he is a model prisoner. And over the 20 years he has been in that little cell, he has watched as violent criminals, rapists, and murderers have “paid their debts” and left – sometimes just to return a few months later.
My father is 61 years old, and has been in prison since he was 41. His parents – my grandparents – have since passed. While my dad has been trapped behind bars, generations of kids and grandkids have been born into our family who have never even met the man. The State of Missouri spends roughly $22,000/year to keep him locked up. Meanwhile all my dad wants to do is be a productive part of society, work and pay taxes, be with his family. And I want my dad back.
Governor Jay Nixon is the only person who has the power to bring my dad home by granting clemency to Jeff and calling 20 years punishment enough. Please help us reach a just and reasonable end to his prison sentence by signing and sharing this petition
From the Author: When I first saw this article, I couldn’t help but be moved by the son’s sincere heartfelt plea to release his father. I decided to do some research on the matter before I made my own summation.
The lawyer that is defending Mr. Mizanskey, Tony Nenninger, believes that this is a case that involves cruel and unusual punishment. In his letter to Governor Nixon he wrote:
“I am not aware of any other person in Missouri who is serving a life sentence for non-violent cannabis-only offenses. It is no secret that all recent major polls indicate over 50% of Americans, including Missourians, favor the complete legalization of adult use of marijuana. We are not asking you to commit to this new majority preference for cannabis legalization, but rather as Governor of Missouri to represent the current population’s modern sociopolitical trends to liberalize marijuana laws in considering the commutation of Jeff’s sentence.”
When Jeff was sentenced on June 19, 1996 the population and the judiciary were guided by hysterical misinformation about cannabis that has since been clarified by more extensive science. Modern judicial sentencing practices reflect this science and the population’s recognition that cannabis is not the scourge of society that it was once thought to be. It is reasonable for you to commute Jeff’s sentence consistent with modern sentencing practices.
Mr. Mizanskey’s lawyer hopes that public awareness of Mezanskey’s plight will help convince the governor that “executive clemency” is the just outcome of this situation.
In my research I did find that in Missouri, if you three drug felonies, even if it’s just marijuana you can get life without parole. I fail to see why this man is sentenced to die in prison when 1. Several states have made marijuana legal 2. Marijuana for some has been used legally as a medication for pain due to the fact that prescription drugs are more harmful 3. Most Americans see it as not that harmful providing the circumstances.
How does one look at a case such as this one in a Christian prospective? All men especially a Christian should respect the law over and above anything else. And we all know that Marijuana is damaging to one’s health but than again, so is smoking, alcohol, over eating, Beyond stewardship, as Christians, our bodies are not our own. We “have been bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), not “with perishable things like silver or gold . . . but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:17-19). Having bought us with His own life, Christ has delighted to create in us something entirely new, something somewhat bizarre. By indwelling us with His Spirit, He has turned us into organic temples of sorts. So now, caring for our health is not just a matter of good stewardship. It is a matter of reverential piety. To pollute or harm our bodies is to desecrate the House of God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). This is both wondrous and terrifying.
No where have I seen where Mr. Mizanskey has received any rehabilitation for his addiction or was he ever addicted? Did Mr. Mizanskey himself partake of the drug or just sell it?
We all know that Mr. Mizanskey broke the law and needed to be punished but to serve such a long sentence when we have serious offenders out there serving less time, is more than I can justify.
If you feel that Chris’ dad should be awarded clemency by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, please click on the link below to sign the petition for Chris.
These following scripture seems appropriate for Mr. Mizanskey’s and his family:
2 corinthians 2:5-8 NIV
If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.