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VIDEO: Meet Jeff Mizanskey, Missouri's Only Inmate Sentenced to Death in Prison for Pot

Categories: Crime, Drugs

mizanskey_blog_photo.jpg
Kholood Eid
Jeff Mizanskey has been in prison for nearly twenty years.
Our print edition this week tells the whole story of Jeff Mizanskey, the only man in Missouri serving a life sentence without parole for marijuana charges.

Twenty years ago this month, Mizanskey was arrested in a sting operation that resulted in him being convicted a few months later of possessing and intending to distribute about five pounds of marijuana.

Our story tells how the sting operation came about, how an over-the-top prosecutor and judge were able to dole out such a harsh sentence, and why Mizanskey believes the governor should grant him clemency -- his only option of ever getting out of prison.

We interviewed Mizanskey at the Jefferson City Correctional Center in November. See below for a video excerpt of that interview in which he explains his frustration about being a nonviolent offender who will never get a chance at parole:

Mizanskey has made efforts to prove he has made the best of his time in prison and rehabilitated himself, including working a steady job and doing programs in prison, despite not being eligible for parole:

Mizanskey hopes that with the changes in marijuana laws around the country, Governor Nixon can be persuaded that his sentence is unjust. His attorney is working on an effort to get people to write letters to Nixon and contact his constituents' office at 573-751-3222.

Read the story - Life for Pot: How a Missouri Man Could Die in Prison for Weed

Follow Ray Downs on Twitter at @RayDowns. E-mail the author at Ray.Downs@RiverfrontTimes.com.


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76 comments
Scooter Von Donaken
Scooter Von Donaken

It's a life sentence, not the Death Penalty, minor correction. I agree. When you look into it you'll find he's doing more time than anyone else involved. And he was not the buyer or the seller or transporter. All from memory but I don't think that I am incorrect.

davidwanderson52
davidwanderson52

As a tax payer, I don't want my money keeping some guy in jail for WEED!!!???   He's clearly able to work and support himself, and he posses no violent, irate, or dangerous behavior that would prevent him from being a re-introduced member of society once again. Somebody down in Jeff City has got to get this guy, and others like him OUT! 


Think about it, we have to pay for someone to sit around and rot in jail, when they are perfectly capable of working for themselves.  RIDICULOUS!

Jessica Gable
Jessica Gable

Every point he makes is so darn valid, and I find it disgusting that we're willing to parole violent sex offenders and murderer's yet he's sentenced to death. I will be researching his case further to confirm he's as non-violent as he claims, but you can count me in for writing a letter.

Justin Michalik
Justin Michalik

Good. It's your most popular story because people are finally starting to realize locking people up for victimless, nonviolent crimes is a waste of their money! Legalize cannabis! Educate, dont incarcerate!

jeanettemobbley
jeanettemobbley

I think that Jeff needs to be let out!  Please go to change.org for the Governor Nixon to grant Mr Mizanski clemency.

jubi_20005
jubi_20005

Please go to Change.org and sign the petiton I started for Mr.Jeff Mizanski for Governor Nixon to grant Jeff Clemency. All you have to do is Put his name in the search engine and go from there.Thank you 

This is the most unfair treatment this man endured.I live in the town where he lived was arrested (for pot-non-violent)The prosecutor Jeff Mittlehauser is still prosecuting people here in Sedalia,mo. (30 yrs.)He is now going to run for judge.And look what Mizanski recieved from this man!

nadine0883
nadine0883

Okay every one, let me explain how prisons work in this country. Sadly.  Okay, most prisons are privately owned, not owned by the government at all. The prisons are owned by private business men, our government pays the prisons and business men huge amounts of money to house our inmates. the businessmen then turn around and contribute huge amounts of money to politicians "campaign funds" to get them elected. Once the politician is elected, that politician creates stricter laws to get more inmates into these prisons to make the business men more money which goes back to the politicans.

A judge in pennsylvania juvenile court was actually a partial owner of a juvenile prison, he was giving all the kids that came in front of him huge jail sentences. It was finally uncovered that he was making a ton of money by sending these kids to jail. The longer the sentence the more years of money....And he was sentenced to 16 years for it!!! Finally 1 case of justice..

How many judges and lawyers and politicians in this country are actually stake holders in our prisons?? we may never know but we know that prison is actually BIG BUSINESS at BILLIONS A YEAR

bmounce
bmounce

This is INJUSTICE at its finest, Corrupt is the word here, Let this man OUT.

I know a man who beat a child to death and only got 15 years, at which time he will be out and free to do it again.
I know a woman, busted with 9 lbs weed, by the time it got to court it was 3 lbs, no jail time till she broke probation and she done 128 days shock, which lowered her walking papers from 12 years to 5 years, She broke probation again, she done 128 days and is walking 5 years supervised, but then she was busted and charged for 2nd degree trafficking while still on probation, is she in jail? NO, will she go to prison? NO
Gov. Nixon, if you allow this man to stay in prison then you are not the leader we need. 

Everyone involved in this case needs to go to prison, Judge, Prosecutor,

We must remember our prison system is privately owed, a judge was just charged with selling our youth to the prison system to keep them working.
What the H*ll has become of us? Are we Animals? Have we lowered ourselves to the level of a snake? Really, God help us all 

Logan Bartley
Logan Bartley

Government says don't do pot because it will mess up your life, so the punishment for doing pot is the government will put you in prison or kill you to save you from yourself! Logic at its finest. #sarcasm

Smok Eingspirit
Smok Eingspirit

These corrupt prosecutors need to be brought to justice; they sell out every Americans freedom for their wallets as they waste our tax dollars spending over $ 400,000. 00 on one smoker just to fill hovers Holiday hotel and promote their forced gay agenda, with over 200,000 gay rapes in their prisons, although they can’t even keep drugs, cell phones, or crime out of their prisons we are supposed to give up our freedom for these cowards can destroy our liberty- the Declaration of independence written on weed/hemp paper entitles us to “Gods nature and his natural goodness” , we the smoker are “only a threat to those who seek absolute tyrantcy”, I encourage all Americans to follow the law if we can get these Nazi scum to spend 12.9 million dollars on each one of us as they did teaching Chech and Chong about friendship in America , and could only get him for selling glass art work out of state then maybe we can expose their black opps program and bring the real criminals to justice. Read more in the book ABOUT CHRISTIANS AND FREEDOM@Amazon.com

Kevin Cook
Kevin Cook

...but if we empty out our jails for pot users we'll have to lay of a bunch of corrections officers.

Shawnette Thebeau
Shawnette Thebeau

There are rapists and murderers that get 1/4 of that time!! He has served the time, let him go.

Kathy Brackett
Kathy Brackett

Omg that is insane! This poor man, they need to free him immediately!! How can the life of a human mean so much to our government or and politician at that matter? Money isn't everything, our government needs to wake up!

Jon Todaro
Jon Todaro

How has this not been overturned. He's served at least 2 times his sentence (or what a normal sentence for this should have been).

jwdawson62
jwdawson62

I live in OHIO, a High School kid shot and KILLED his Step Dad and Mom because his Step Dad would not let him drive one of his cars to school. Shot them in the Head and put their bodies on a Tarp inside the house and drove the car to school. He got 5 years Prison for each, This should have been a life sentence , Not someone for selling 5 pounds of pot, sounds like he has served his time, let him free. 

Lynn Hooker
Lynn Hooker

I see this kind of crap every day. My son got 13 years on one wanton endangerment charge where he let a friend shoot a gun out of his car into an abandoned building and then I see sex offenders and murderers and rapist and etc... get probated or a couple of years.

Couch Pig
Couch Pig

Corrupt state of greedy bible pumping repressionists

derp
derp

Agreed that the judge was crazy, and out of his league assigning a life sentence w/ no parole.  However, I have half pity / half non pity.  If it was 20 years w/ parole that'd be fine with me (imho).  You gamble twice with the law...can't help but not feel sorry on a 3rd strike.  

Still, very unfortunate.  Hope he gets pardoned. 

cbarwick1
cbarwick1

It's disturbing the amount of people who have been convicted of more serious and disturbing crimes such as rape, murder, and child molestation and have already been released in the same time frame that this man has been in prison.

Chris Ferguson
Chris Ferguson

Remember to ask candidates about this subject when next election comes around

ThatsMyTattooo
ThatsMyTattooo

The killer of a young 18 year old man I know was given only seven years for murder. What a WARPED justice system! Sign Mizanskey's petition. Speak up, speak out people. 

Laura Beard King
Laura Beard King

really? isn't it like 7 years mandatory for raping children? bullshit laws.

Michael Christensen
Michael Christensen

It's only because he's worth $ to the state to stay in prison. Let him go this is absurd

Justice Rising
Justice Rising

hacker groups anonymous, social eco terrorism, enviromental terrorists, political terrorist. come on lets not waste any more of our tax dollars and lets get some damn work done for a change

Justice Rising
Justice Rising

i am sure i don't wanna pay for his stay in prison jusat for some pot. Lets look at terrorism a bit more. I am sure there's more people of interest there.

Karyn Hernandez
Karyn Hernandez

while rapist murderers pedophiles etc are out ....this people and their laws make this country look like a joke .....

Steve Dixon
Steve Dixon

Yeah, just because something becomes legal later does not exonerate you from crimes committed while it was illegal. You still have to pardoned/granted clemency.

Jesda Ulati
Jesda Ulati

Not necessarily, but he ideally would be.

nifty_headshot
nifty_headshot

@Steve Dixon you sir are an idiot its a plant and NON VIOLENT crime does not deserve life in prison 

ThatsMyTattooo
ThatsMyTattooo

Surprisingly there is no petition! There REALLY should be. There's a link to send Gov Nixon an email at the bottom of this article.

derp
derp

@nifty_headshot define "non violent".  do you have any idea what the 100lbs went through to arrive there?  the simple fact that there was a demand for it by dealers in missouri means that a chain of events had to occur further up the line:  extortion, possibly extreme violence, killing competing distributors, all to get 100lbs in that trunk.  

The dude doesn't deserve life in prison, but failing to understand how drug dealing IS an indirect violent crime is asinine.  

sandydog
sandydog

@derp @Derp  It's a victimless crime, ya I realize you don't agree.  When legalized the problems you state will mostly be gone.

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