Aaron Malin on Jeff Mizanskey's Life Sentence for Marijuana


Jeff Mizanskey
Aaron Malin

Jeff Mizanskey is serving a life sentence without parole for marijuana. He has been in prison for 21 years ago, and is the only person in Missouri sentenced to die behind bars for marijuana, a victim of the state's rather unique three strikes law. Around half of states have some type of three strikes law on the books. In almost all of these states the statutes apply to violent crimes—murder, rape, assault with a deadly weapon, etc. In Missouri, Jeff racked up all three strikes without ever committing an act of violence. He was a working class guy with a small side gig as a low-level pot dealer. He never hurt anyone, never brandished a weapon, and never sold to children. 

All of Mizanskey's appeal options have been exhausted, writes Aaron Malin. Unless the Governor of Missouri grants Jeff clemency and sets him free, he will likely die in prison.