Gov. Nixon Evades Questions About Jeff Mizanskey, Man Serving Life in Prison for Pot
Mizanskey has requested clemency, and that request has garnered a large amount of support online. A Change.org petition asking Nixon to grant clemency has received more than 360,000 signatures. Mizanskey's son, Chris, and other supporters are planning to symbolically deliver these signatures to the governor in Jefferson City today.
Jeff Mittelhauser, the original prosecutor in Mizanskey's case, told KCTV in Kansas City last week that he would support clemency for Mizanskey -- but only if he admits to the crime. Mizanskey has insisted he did not know a drug deal was going down at the time; only Spanish was being spoken in the hotel room when the deal went down, and Mizanskey claims he was just doing a favor for a friend by giving a ride and was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Police involved in the sting told the Riverfront Times last year that the focus of the sting was a man named Atilano Quintana and it appeared Mizanskey wasn't involved -- at least not to the extent of Quintana, who ended up getting ten years in prison for the deal.
Mittelhauser is more open about his views of the sentence than when he spoke to the Riverfront Times last year and said he would only give his opinion about clemency if the governor asks him. But it appears he would suggest clemency if asked. Phone calls to Mittelhauser's office Friday from Daily RFT were not immediately returned.
Interestingly, Mittelhauser, who initially offered Mizanskey twenty years for his involvement in the Quintana sting, is currently running for judge in Missouri's Division Six. His opponent is Rep. Stanley Cox, who represented Quintana during the Mizanskey case and, as a high-ranking member in the state legislature, has been accused of blocking marijuana-reform bills.
Nixon is among the least generous governors in the country when it comes to granting clemency. During his nearly six years as governor, Nixon has only used this executive power once -- for convicted murderer Richard Clay, whose sentence was commuted from death to life without parole. That case is believed by some to contain prosecutorial misconduct, according to the Post-Dispatch. Nixon was the state attorney general at the time and he appointed attorney Kenny Hulshof to the case.
There are currently thousands of clemency petitions awaiting a response.
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