Free Michael NOW!!!

Free Michael NOW!!!

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Erin Hoensch started this petition to Govenor Ron DeSantis and

We need to submit an Agreed Motion on behalf of Michael to Lee County State Attorney Amira Fox in the hope that she will present it to a judge for approval, and Michael will be RELEASED. If it happened in Broward County then it is possible in Lee County.

Michael would greatly appreciate your help in getting the word out to the media, politicians, and as many people as possible, especially reaching out to Amira Fox herself.

Here are some of the media and government contacts:

Janine Zeitlin(News-Press)
jzeitlin@gannett.com

Dave Elias(NBC-2 News)
dave.elias@nbc-2.com

Danielle Garcia(WINK-TV)
dannielle.garcia@winknews.com

Nikki Fried
Nikki.Fried @fdacs.gov

Kyle Troop
kyle.troop@fdacs.gov

Amira Fox
samira@sao.cjis20.org

Paul Polandp

poland@sao20.org


Cynthia Ann Ross
cross@sao.cjis20.org


Heather Fitzenhagen
hfitzenhagen@gmail.com

Joseph D'Alessandro-Former Prosecutor who has signed for my release

oed@goldberg-law.com


Brian Tannebaum
btannebaum@tannebaum.com

***Michael's Inmate Number is 717273***

 

 


MICHAEL’S STORY

In Sept. '93 I ended my volatile relationship with my then girlfriend Rene Cianci, and I started dating Rene's best friend, Shelly Wilson. Rene became very angry about my relationship with Shelly, but I didn't realize the extent of her vehemence. Rene knew that I was a cocaine addict and had a supplier, and in retaliation for me breaking up with her and dating Shelly, Rene contacted a detective she knew from a previous DUI arrest and agreed to work as an informant and buy some cocaine from me to get me in trouble.

Between the end of September and the beginning of October 1993 Rene called me about a dozen times and asked me to pick up some cocaine for her and her ''friend,'' and each time I said No! So the Cape Coral detective sent Rene to see Detective Augustine Malagon of the C.L.E.A.N. task force to continue trying to convince me to get her some cocaine.

During a late night in first week of October, while Shelly was at her home sleeping, Rene came over to my house and had sex with me and kept begging me to help her get some coke for her ''friend'' so she could make some money and get some coke for ''us to do,'' and she promised to have more sex with me if I helped her get it, and I relented and agreed!

During the morning of October 6th, '93 I called my supplier and made arrangements to pick up 14 grams of coke for Rene. Later that day Rene came to my house and I gave her the coke and she went into the kitchen and removed about 4 grams and put it into a pill bottle, then departed my house and met Detectives Malagon and Cooper and gave them the 10 grams of coke she left in the baggie and kept the 4 grams for us.

On October 12th, '93 Rene called me again and asked me for some more coke, and I told her I only had 7 grams of my personal use coke and she said her friend would pay extra for it, $300, when it only cost $200, so I agreed. Later that day Rene came to my house again, picked up the coke, went into my downstairs bathroom and removed 2 grams and placed it into the pill bottle, then departed my house and met the detectives again and gave Malagon the 5 grams she left in the baggie and kept the 2 grams for herself. But this time one of the detectives decided to search Rene's purse and found the pill bottle of coke. Unbelievably, Malagon covered for Rene by telling the detective she always removes coke for herself to make the buy look real.

On October 12th, '93, at 10:45 P.M, when Shelly and I returned to my house from the local convenience store, Malagon and about a dozen police officers and 2 drug sniffing dogs were waiting for me with an arrest warrant, and I was arrested for the two sales of cocaine offenses and have been imprisoned ever since. October 12th, 1993, 10:45 P.M., was the last time I was a free man.

While I was in jail with a no bond hold waiting for my preliminary hearing, I called Shelly's house and Rene was there and told me over the phone that she wasn't going to testify against me and she would tell my attorney, Ralph Chandler. About a week later Rene went to Mr. Chandler's office and told him it wasn't me that sold her the coke and wrote out a sworn notarized affidavit stating the same in front of two witnesses. Because Rene told me that she wasn't going to testify against me and signed the sworn affidavit saying it wasn't me, my attorney and I decided to take my case to trial because without Rene's testimony the prosecutor couldn't convict me.

On March 11th, '94, the morning my trial was to commence, the prosecutor offered me a recommended guideline prison sentence of 15 years to plead guilty to the charges, then told the me if I ''proceed to trial and am found guilty the state will file a habitual offender (H.O.) notice against [me] and ask the court to sentence [me] as a habitual offender to 60 years in prison.'' Because Rene told me she wasn't going to testify against me and signed the sworn affidavit stating it wasn't me who sold her the coke, I exercised our constitutional right to a jury trial.

When the trial was to begin, Rene was nowhere to be found, but the judge gave the prosecutor an hour to find her, overruling my attorney's objection. Almost an exact hour later the prosecutor gave a thumbs up - the detectives had found Rene and convinced her to testify against me - and the jury was seated and the trial began.

The prosecutor started the trial with Rene's testimony, and when he asked René about the sworn affidavit she said she signed it because I kept calling from jail and bothering her and she felt bad about what she did to me so she signed it to get me to leave her alone. When I saw the looks on the jurors faces and the way they looked back at me I knew I was finished, that they were going to find me guilty right then.

On March 14th, '94, the jury returned a verdict of guilty on all counts, the state made good on its threat and filed the H.O. notice against me, and the judge scheduled a hearing to determine my H.O. status and to impose sentence, which was postponed until September 2nd, '94.

In '94, prior to my sentencing hearing, the Sentencing Guidelines were amended to reduce the severity of punishment for nonviolent sales of cocaine offenses and other nonviolent crimes, and under the amended guidelines I scored out to a recommended prison sentence of 68 months compared to 12 to 19 years under the '93 guidelines. Because the '94 guidelines recommended the trial court impose a much less severe sentence, prior to my sentencing hearing I filed with the court a Request To Be Sentenced Under The 1994 Sentencing Guidelines.

On Sept. 2nd, '94, during my habitual offender and sentencing hearing, I told the judge I was a cocaine addict, that I sold the cocaine to support my addiction, that no court had ever sentenced me to a drug program even though all of my prior offenses involved cocaine, and I begged the judge to sentence me to a program so I could get help and return to society drug free, to no avail.

In 2018, Judge Jay B. Rosman, who thought it was OK to sentence me to 60 years in prison for committing nonviolent drug offenses in which no one was harmed and no damage was done, was arrested and subsequently removed from the bench for soliciting a prostitute, resisting arrest, and fleeing and eluding. Rosman didn't spend 24 hours in jail for committing violent acts against women: I've served 28 years in prison with 18 more to go for committing nonviolent drug offenses in which no one was harmed and no damage was done to anything or anyone. Does that sound right? Too bad Rosman wasn't arrested before he had a chance to sentence me because it's been said he was having sexual encounters with prostitutes around that time also!

Unfortunately, at the close of the hearing, the judge denied my Request, said it was ''too late'' to send me to a drug treatment program, that I needed ''to be separated from society for as long a time as possible,'' then designated me a habitual offender and imposed the following pertinent sentences:

Count I, sales of cocaine, 30 years in prison,

Count III, sales of cocaine, 30 years in prison consecutive to Count I sentence.

That's a total of 60 years in prison for two nonviolent drug offenses in which no one was harmed and no victim existed, just because I took my case to trial! And that is the ONLY reason the prosecutor filed the H.O. notice against me - because I ''proceeded to trial'' and was ''found guilty'' - which allowed the judge to enhance my sentence to 60 years.

Around the time I was sentenced to 60 years for a nonviolent drug offense, a murderer named John Pike was sentenced to 20 years in prison for killing his son-in-law. Around 2003 Pike was released from prison after murdering someone: I still have 18 years remaining on my sentence for a crime in which no one was harmed!

What's also frustrating is that if I committed the same offenses today I would score out to a recommended guideline sentence of 68 months - which is 5 years and 8 months - in prison which the prosecutor would offer me to plead guilty instead of the 15 years offered under the '93 guidelines, and I would have accepted that plea offer instead of proceeding to trial and would have been released from prison after serving about 3 years. That is a hard pill to swallow!

Nevertheless, in 2014, after all my appeals were denied, I filed a Request for Commutation (reduction) of Sentence with Florida's Office of Executive Clemency, which has to be approved by the governor of Florida and two of the three Cabinet members, who together make up the clemency board.

In 2015 and 2019, the former state attorney (Joseph D'Alessandro) and current assistant state attorney (Cynthia Ann Ross) who prosecuted my case, both wrote letters to the governor and Cabinet members in which they said my 60-year prison sentence ''no longer serves the interest of the community'' and needs to be reduced to time served.

In 2019 Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried - who is the lone Democrat on the clemency board - placed my case on the clemency board's agenda and started advocating for my release. And in March 2020 the governor's three commissioners at the Florida Commission on Offender Review (FCOR), who investigated my case for the clemency board, recommended to the governor and Cabinet that my ''Commutation Request be granted,'' to no avail.

Even though the prosecutors who put me in here and the three FCOR commissioners who investigated my case have recommended that he free me, Governor DeSantis keeps postponing his decision to my commutation request by saying he's taking it ''under advisement,'' which can go on indefinitely without recourse.

As of this writing I've been imprisoned 28 years for committing two nonviolent drug offenses. My current release date is in October of 2039, 18 years from now! Governor DeSantis can right this wrong but does nothing about it. How does the governor with a clear conscience keep me imprisoned for a nonviolent crime when everyone involved with my case is asking that I be released is beyond me.

In actuality, I'm serving a 60-year prison sentence for helping my ex girlfriend Rene get some coke on two occasions because I wanted to party - that's what addicts do! What's hard to understand is why anyone in their right mind would want to imprison me for 60 years for committing a nonviolent drug offense in which no one was hurt. Was it because I exercised our constitutional right to take my case to trial? Of course it was! The only thing that happened between the 15-year plea offer and the request for a 60-year sentence was I ''proceeded to trial'' and was ''found guilty!'' The prosecutor made good on his threat, which allowed the judge to enhance my sentence to 60 years.

Every year I watch child molesters and pedophiles and armed robbers and violent criminals walk out of here free men while I continue to waste away in here without a victim to accuse me of any harm. And every year politicians dangle freedom in front of my face with proposed rule changes and sentencing reform bills like a tease, then nothing happens, the nightmare continues!

After almost three decades I'm still sitting in prison for a nonviolent drug offense even though the prosecutors who put me in here are asking that I be released. That is truly insane! When is someone going to come to their senses and free me from this madness?

Now you know why I get a little depressed at times. So please bear with me and help me convince Governor DeSantis to use his power of clemency to free me. There is still a chance we can motivate the governor to follow his three FCOR commissioners and the prosecutors recommendations and commute my sentence to time served.

If enough people show Governor DeSantis that they support my sentence being commuted he might change his mind and release me. As long as my commutation request hasn't been formally denied, we still have a chance at this. And that's a good enough reason to continue campaigning for my sentence to be commuted, isn't it? 

Update:

7/2/21: I received a letter telling me that DeSantis denied my commutation request. Our only shot is to reach out to Amira Fox directly, and ask her to file the agreed motion to modify my sentence. Please call her office, email her, write to her, we need to let her know that Michael should be freed. 

 

*Please note, the donation button on this petition goes to Change.Org, not Michael Edwards. If you'd like to donate to Michael's Freedom Fund, please click on the link below to send money to Michael's son, Kingsley. 

www.paypal.com/krhedwards

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 15,000!
At 15,000 signatures, this petition becomes one of the top signed on Change.org!