Freedom for a Sedalia man sentenced to life without parole for marijuana offenses is the aim of a bill offered in the state house.
Jeff Mizanskey was sentenced in 1993 under a version of the state’s drug offender sentencing laws that is no longer in statute. Since that time, revisions have been made to prevent a life sentence for non-violent marijuana offenses.
Governor Jay Nixon has said he would review the 61-year-old’s case before he leaves office, but State Representative Shamed Dogan filed a bill in an attempt to release him sooner.
“It’s outrageous to treat someone who’s been guilty of marijuana offenses the same way we would treat a murderer,” said Dogan. “I think that the process needs to be sped up in any way possible. So, that’s why I filed this legislation to get some more attention and to put some pressure on the governor to hopefully act.”
Dogan filed HB 978 after visiting Mizanskey behind bars. Dogan says Missouri taxpayers have spent more than half a million dollars to incarcerate Mizanskey and other offenders in prison cannot believe he is still there for marijuana.
“I think when the criminals in the prisons realize the injustice of something, something’s wrong,” said Dogan. “The idea that these people who have committed robberies, who’ve committed rapes, who’ve committed all kinds of violent crimes, and are a threat to our society can get out after five or ten years, and he’s still sitting there after twenty.”
Even if the bill clears the legislature, the final say would still fall to Governor Nixon.