Michael Edwards, early release possible!
Jan 10, 2020 —
A Fort Myers man sentenced to life in prison on drug charges may finally get his chance to ask for an early release.
Michael Edwards was caught with a tablespoon of cocaine back in the '90s. It was his third strike, and a judge ordered him to be locked up for life.
He may now get a second chance after nearly 3 decades behind bars. Edwards has spent nearly 27 years in prison — that's almost 10,000 days.
He asked for an early release six years ago, but his case was caught up in a backlog of 24,000 cases.
Even the man who helped put him away says he's served his time.
Edwards’ sister Mimi said the family wants everything perfect for his clemency hearing because this will be their last shot to get him released.
Michael Edwards, who called us from prison, said it is his only shot to prove he's learned his lesson.
“I'm really ashamed of my past actions, and I did a lot stupid things when I was younger,” Michael Edwards said.
Edwards was an addict. He had multiple drug arrests. In 1993, it was his third strike. At that time President Bill Clinton had advocated that after three strikes, you put them in prison, a decision he would later regret.
Edwards was caught selling about a tablespoon of cocaine to his then girlfriend. She turned him into police, and he was eventually convicted.
Former State Attorney Joe D’Alessandro who helped put Edwards away for life has since advocated for his release, even asking former Gov. Rick Scott to set him free. D’Alessandro said as far as he is concerned, Edwards has served his time and should be let go.
State Representative Heather Fitzenhagen, who is also running for congress, has said Edwards has served his time.
“This is a man who is a non-violent criminal who served his time. His community supports him. He already has a job when he comes home, so I want to be able to welcome him home,” Fitzenhagen said Thursday.
Assistant State Attorney Cynthia Ross has also supported an early release, even writing a letter requesting an early release.
Her boss Amira Fox told NBC-2 Thursday that she did not want to comment on the case without completely reviewing it.
“We're just keeping our fingers crossed,” Mimi Edwards said.
Clemency Board Member Nikki Fried released a statement Thursday.
“As a past public defender, I have seen the injustice and inequity of our criminal justice system firsthand. No one’s life should be ruined because of a nonviolent, low-level drug crime.” Fried said.
She is one of four, including Governor Ron DeSantis, who will decide Edwards fate.
If the clemency board doesn’t release Edwards early, he is set to be freed when he is 90 years old, which will cost tax payers well over a million dollars.
The family said that notarized letters of support for Michaels release can be sent to the investigator. So if it isn't too much trouble, we would really appreciate it if you could mail a notarized letter to Sarah Morris on behalf of Michael.
Commission Investigator FCOR
2105 S. Kanner Highway
Stuart, FL 34994
There is also Facebook page entitled Free Michael Edwards Now.
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