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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Man Serving Life in Prison for Pot Charge Won’t be Pardoned

Joshua Krause

When Jeff Mizanskey was arrested for his part in a drug deal in 1993, he had no idea what he was in for. After all, he had been arrested for the possession and distribution of marijuana twice before. Once in 1984, and again in 1991. Both carried relatively light sentences compared to what he was facing. Though he didn’t know it at the time, he was about to become the latest victim of the drug war, as well as Missouri’s draconian “3 strikes” law.

Unbeknownst to him, the two men on the other half of the deal had been recently arrested, and agreed to sell out their “co-conspirators” in exchange for leniency. Mizanskey ended up with the short end of the stick, and due to his prior history was facing the longest sentence. The prosecutor offered him 25 years in prison if he pleaded guilty, but he refused. After losing the trial, he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

All this for a man accused of a victimless crime, and no history of violence whatsoever. Mizanskey, who is now 61, has spent more than 20 years in prison. And what he has witnessed during this time really puts things in perspective. By his own count, he has seen over 200 rapists and murderers come and go (and sometimes come back again) from his cell block.

Now that times have changed, many have wondered why this man is still in prison. In fact, his supporters were hoping that he would finally have a chance to be released after Missouri Governor Jay Nixon issued 9 pardons last month, but Mizanskey’s name was not on the list. These pardons were all given to nonviolent offenders who had already served their time, some of which carried marijuana charges.

But for some reason, the Governor and the State of Missouri don’t appear to have any sympathy for Mizanskey. They can let murderers and rapists go on a regular basis, and they can pardon people who have already finished their prison sentences, but releasing a 61-year-old pothead and family man is simply out of the question.

What’s more infuriating, is the fact that the governor’s son was arrested for possession in 2011. As you can probably guess, all charges were dropped due to a "lack of evidence". How convenient? There must have been something really special about that boy for him to be let off the hook.

Clearly, he was the shining pillar of his community.

It’s time for the Federal Government to put an end to this asinine drug war. Not only is it a complete failure, but it is one of the most immoral and destructive wars we’ve ever waged. If you can imprison a man like Mizanskey, who by any reasonable ethical standard did nothing wrong, then what does that say about our country? Our politicians tell us that we are the leader of the free world, but thanks to the drug war the only thing we lead the world in, is incarceration rates.

That’s not freedom. That’s just plain evil. You can judge a nation by the types of people they decide throw in prison; and, in this case, it’s obvious what kind of nation we’ve become: petty, self-righteous, and tyrannical. 

Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple, where this first appeared. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger.

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