Jeff Mizanskey has been in prison for the last 20 years serving life without parole for non-violent cannabis-only violations of Missouri law. In late 1993, Jeff drove an acquaintance, Atilano Quintana, to a motel in Sedalia where Quintana planned to buy seven pounds of marijuana from the men. The transaction was part of a sting operation setup by police after the men selling the marijuana were busted when stopped for a traffic violation on their way to Missouri from New Mexico.
The surveillance footage shows that it wasn’t Jeff, but his acquaintance Atilano Quintana, buying the cannabis. It was also Quintana who was in possession of the marijuana when Mizanksey and Quintana were arrested. Even so, Jeff was charged with intent to distribute for aiding and abetting Quintana, a Class B felony that was enhanced to a Class A felony due to Jeff’s prior cannabis convictions.
The perversion of justice gets worse. Because Jeff had three prior cannabis convictions, including one for selling an ounce of cannabis to an undercover cop in 1984 and another for possession of more than 35 grams in 1991, he was sentenced to life in prison without parole for this same charge under Missouri’s prior and persistent drug offenders statute. All of Jeff’s violations of law were non-violent.
Jeff’s son Chris Mizanskey is a Show-Me Cannabis supporter who lives in Sedalia and, like the rest of Jeff’s family, misses him very much and wants to see him come home. Chris told the St. Louis Riverfront Times: “What’s happened to him isn’t right, and I just think people should know that this happens. My dad wasn’t a violent man. People always tell me what a good guy he was. He worked hard. He doesn’t deserve this. Who does?”
We agree with Chris. Jeff doesn’t deserve such a harsh penalty for violations which were entirely non-violent. What he deserves is justice.
Update: On May 22, 2015, Governor Nixon commuted Jeff’s sentence to allow for the possibility of parole.
Update: On August 10, 2015, the parole board granted Jeff parole!
Update: On September 1, 2015, Jeff was released from prison!
- “Free Jeff Mizanskey” Facebook page
- Change.org Petition – Please sign and share!
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- Here I Am (Documentary, Length: 24:31)
- Supplemental Clemency Petition (PDF, 119 KB)
- Annotated Chronological Judicial History (PDF, 57 KB)
- Advocacy Flyer (PDF, 938 KB)