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Take action now against mandatory minimums in Florida

Thank CBS 4/UPN 33 for segment on Florida’s unjust mandatory minimums   
Thank CBS News/UPN 33 for segment on FL mandatory sentences Take Action!   Watch clip and learn more about Penny Spence, Richard Paey and FAMM 

Dear Florida FAMM members,

Penny Spence and Richard Paey are two Floridians whose lives have been altered by their state’s harsh and inflexible mandatory sentencing laws.  Their stories were recently featured in a segment by reporter Jennifer Santiago on Miami-Dade County’s UPN 33/CBS 4 television stations.  We urge you to click here to watch the segment and then send a thank you to Shannon High-Bassalik, news director of CBS/UPN.  You won’t believe the injustice of these cases. They dramatically illustrate the problems with inflexible mandatory drug sentencing laws that are based solely on the weight, or alleged weight, of the drug involved.  Penny Spence is awaiting a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence for possessing 49 prescription pills belonging to her mother, who passed away shortly before Penny’s arrest. The charge was later changed to drug trafficking, although there was no evidence she was selling pills.  Richard Paey, who suffers from pain caused by muscular dystrophy, is already serving 25 years for obtaining pain medication from an out of state doctor.  Both Penny and Richard refused to accept plea bargains because of the stigma attached to a drug conviction and the impact such a conviction would have on their professional careers: Penny is a nurse and Richard is a lawyer. Robert Batey, a law professor at Stetson University and long time coordinator of FAMM’s Tampa Bay chapter, explains in the segment how mandatory sentencing laws work and that most people have no idea these laws exist until they affect them personally.  Florida’s mandatory minimums for prescription trafficking are triggered by four grams of a prescription narcotic – six pills, while 28 grams of prescription carries 25-year sentence. Unlike other types of sentences, there is no time off for good behavior and no possibility for other sentence reductions – a mandatory minimum is truly mandatory.Please join FAMM in commending Jennifer Santiago and CBS 4/UPN 33 for airing this important and eye-opening piece. We hope that it will encourage the network to air the segment nationally and further raise public awareness about the injustice of mandatory sentencing laws and Penny and Richard’s cases.