Drug Policy

Florida Supreme Court Declines to Review Richard Paey's Sentence


On Friday the Florida Supreme Court declined to hear Richard Paey's appeal of the 25-year sentence he received for "drug trafficking," which in his case amounted to obtaining narcotics for the treatment of his own severe chronic pain with prescriptions his doctor denied writing after they became the subject of a police investigation. Reason contributor Maia Szalavitz notes at The Huffington Post that "Paey—who suffers both multiple sclerosis and from the aftermath of a disastrous and barbaric back surgery that resulted in multiple major malpractice judgments—now receives virtually twice as much morphine in prison than the equivalent in opioid medications for which he was convicted of forging prescriptions." In the decision the state Supreme Court refused to review, a Florida appeals court nevertheless ruled that his sentence was not "grossly disprortionate" enough to violate the constitutional ban on "cruel and unusual punishments." At the same time, the court urged Paey to seek clemency from the governor as a remedy for a sentence that a dissenting judge called "illogical, absurd, unjust, and unconstitutional." That, aside from an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, seems to be the only recourse still open to him.

The Pain Relief Network has information on the case, including how to contact Gov. Charlie Crist, here. My columns on the case are here, here, and here.

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  1. He had to get arrested and sent to prison in order to legally get his medications?

  2. Awwwww Fuck!

    It must take a highly trained and experienced legal mind to uphold a ruling and deem it unconstitutional at the same time.

  3. No surprise there. Florida is “law and order” all the way. I will write to Gov. Crist but I surely don’t expect anything from it.

  4. Warren,

    a sentence that a dissenting judge called “illogical, absurd, unjust, and unconstitutional.”

  5. It’s sad that injustice is common enough that my first reaction was to think, “And why is this surprising?”

  6. I will write to Gov. Crist but I surely don’t expect anything from it.

    Yeah, isn’t he the guy who said it’s OK for undercover cops trespassing on private property to shoot the owner if he tells them to leave? Obviously he thinks the Drug War omelette is worth a few cracked eggs.

  7. crimethink,
    Oh yes, I see. But still, I had the impression that the whole court urged him to seek relief from the Governor.

  8. So, dose anyone think that Ron Paul would pardon all nonviolent drug offenders?

    I am praying that he will. While I’m at it, I will pray that he will somehow re-brainwash his psychotic views on immigration.

    And I would like a pony as well. Thank you.

  9. tros,
    See the Ron Paul thread

  10. So, dose anyone think that Ron Paul would pardon all nonviolent drug offenders?

    Maybe, but if he did, I would expect him and his vice president to be impeached and convicted the next day.

  11. Warren, there is noting inherently contradictory about a majority on a state’s supreme court upholding a sentence while urging the convicted to petition for a pardon or clemency. Stupid, unjust laws and sentencing is not synonymous with unconstitutional laws and sentencing.

    The real tyrants in this matter are the majority of Florida’s electorate, and the real gutless wonders in this matter are the members of the jury who refused to nullify.

    If I were ever subjected to voir dire, and decided to be truthful, I’d never be allowed on a jury, since I think nullification is essential to a free society.

  12. Gee, d’ya’ think Rush Limbaugh is helping cover some of this guy’s legal costs?

  13. Thank God this maniac won’t be allowed to walk, er, roll the streets terrorizing our precious children.

  14. The problem here is the coddling of evil. Instead of endless “appeals”, why can’t we just execute drug dealers? I bet that would solve the problem once and for all. And if not, at least we wouldn’t look weak. I hate weak!

  15. Will Allen:

    My wife got selected for jury duty a few weeks ago (we live in South Florida). Her number got called for what was a possession of marijuana trial. Prosecutor asked who thought pot should be legal. She raised her hand. Somehow she didn’t make the jury. I told her afterwards that I probably would’ve lied so I could exercise my right of nullification.

    Meanwhile, this is par for the course in this state unfortunately. I wrote Governor Bush about this, and I’ll write Governor Crist, but I don’t expect that anything resembling justice will be done for Mr. Paey.

  16. I didn’t raise my hand. I hung the jury in a federal case.

  17. I’ve posted on the subject of Mr. Paey before-you see, I was convicted and served time (although nearly not as much) for a similar crime. This is just making it worse for Chronic pain patients everywhere. The prison system agrees that he needs strong pain killers! What more is required!!!

  18. I told her afterwards that I probably would’ve lied so I could exercise my right of nullification.

    Sorry, but if you do that you stand a good chance of going to jail.

    At best you will spend a few days in the slammer for contempt of court. At worst you’ll get a couple of years for perjury.

    Yes, the judicial system really does suck that bad.

  19. Isaac,

    Aren’t the jury deliberations kept secret? Even if not, you could pretend you thought the person was factually innocent and still hang the jury.

  20. This is not an exercise.
    This is a police control.
    Spread your legs and place your
    hands in the yellow circles, please.

    pppsssst ppsst

    What do you mean civilians aren’t required to have yellow circles painted on the walls inside their homes? Where are they supposed to put their hands when a police patrol comes through their neighborhood?


    Warrant? Fourth amendment? What the fark are you talking about?

    No wonder so many SWAT raids go horribly wrong. If people would just place their hands in the yellow circles when we raid their homes, it would make it safer for us.


    Who cares about them? They should know how to be arrested properly.

    psst pssssstt pssst

    Announce ourselves? Why should we announce ourselves? Yes, homeowners should be required to place their hands in the yellow circles, but it’s unreasonable to expect us to give them notice.

    If we raid their homes and they don’t have their hands in the yellow circles, then it should be assumed that they’re threatening us.

    Policing is a tough job, after all. We should get a few breaks every now and then.

    Ungrateful subjects. After all we’ve done for them.

  21. “””I told her afterwards that I probably would’ve lied so I could exercise my right of nullification.”””

    Not “lied”, you would have “misspoke”.

    “””” a Florida appeals court nevertheless ruled that his sentence was not “grossly disprortionate” enough to violate the constitutional ban on “cruel and unusual punishments””””

    This seems like the sentence was appealed. The sentence might be appropriate for the crime, therefore just. It’s the conviction that’s the problem.

  22. I am in terrible need for letters, calls and emails to Governor Crist in Florida. Our best chance now is for clemency, that’s how scary things have gotten. I just can’t believe this is happening. Without people like Jacob Sullum, et al., we wouldn’t have a chance. Thanks for the support.

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