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Free Richard Wershe Jr

This petition had 2,571 supporters

Richard Wershe Jr is juvenile lifer who is now 27+ years into a life sentence. He was arrested at 17 years old on a single nonviolent drug charge. He's spent more time in prison than any non-violent juvenile offender in Michigan's history. He is not a threat to anyone or society so why should he spend another day behind bars for the mistakes he made as a kid? If you see the injustice in this please sign this petition and share. More information about his plight: In May 1987, when he was 17, Wershe was charged with possession with intent to deliver eight kilos of cocaine, which police had found stashed near his house following a traffic stop. He had the misfortune of being convicted and sentenced under one of the harshest drug statutes ever conceived in the United States, Michigan’s so-called 650 Lifer law, a 1978 act that mandated an automatic prison term of life without parole for the possession of 650 grams or more of cocaine. (The average time served for murder in state prisons in the 1980s was less than 10 years.) Sentencing juvenile offenders to life without parole for non-homicide crimes was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010, by which point such sentences were already exceedingly rare; the court was able to locate only 129 inmates serving them nationwide. Michigan eventually acknowledged the failures of the 650 Lifer statute—the governor who signed it into law, William G. Milliken, has called it the greatest mistake of his career—and rolled it back in 1998. Those already serving time became parole eligible and began to be released. Wershe is the only person sentenced under the old law who is still in prison for a crime committed as a juvenile. Prominent and violent kingpins and enforcers from Wershe’s day in Detroit have long since been freed. And yet Wershe has remained incarcerated, for more than 27 years. Thank you for signing, and please share with your friends.

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