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Jeff Mizanskey, Missouri Man Serving Life for Pot, Asks Public to Write Letters to Gov. Nixon

Categories: Politics

Jeff Mizanskey wants you to write the governor.

The only person in Missouri serving a life without parole sentence for nonviolent, marijuana-only charges, Mizanskey says he is overwhelmed by all the attention his case has received over the past year, which included nationwide coverage and a Change.org petition with nearly 500,000 signatures asking Governor Jay Nixon to give clemency to the 61-year-old prisoner.

But Mizanskey is still in the same place he has been in for the past 21 years. So he called Daily RFT to ask readers for a favor: Write Nixon a letter. Here's Mizanskey's official statement:

jeff_mizanskey_profile_kholood_eid.jpg
Kholood Eid
Mizanskey has been in prison for nearly 21 years.
Hello to everyone out there. Thank you all for your help, signing the petition, and making calls to the governor. I appreciate the concern and help. Unfortunately, I am still in prison, but I have some good news and some bad. Good news first: I just found out last week that I'm going to be a great grandpa sometime this year. I just pray I can be there for my great grandchild. As you all know, I could not be there for my grandkids. With all of your help, that's possible.

Now the bad news: I've been sitting in prison going on 21 years for a nonviolent crime. I still have not heard much of anything from the governor. I was told by Tony [Nenninger], my lawyer, that he talked to one of the governor's men and was told that there have been around 1,000 calls and about 100 letters since, as well as 470,000 signatures on the petition.

Thank you all for what you have done. Unfortunately, Tony also told me that the governor pays more attention to letters most of all. So now I have to come back to you all and ask for more help. If you can find a few minutes to send a short letter to the governor, I know it would help. I don't have anyone else to ask but all of you. Thank you all again. Please write and call the governor.

I'd also like to give a special thanks to Show-Me Cannabis - especially John Payne and Amber Langston, Tony Nenninger, my son Chris, brother Mike, and everybody else who has helped.

For those who would like to contact Nixon, here's his info:

Office of Governor Jay Nixon
P.O. Box 720
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Phone: (573) 751-3222

Mizanskey tells us that life in prison hasn't changed much since his story went viral on the Daily RFT blog last year. He has received a few more letters and had a few visits from reporters.

"Food's gotten worse. But you can survive if you hold your nose when you eat it," Mizanskey jokes.

But that's about it. The former building contractor still does what he's been doing for most of the time he has been locked up: working 38 hours a week building furniture for the Missouri Department of Corrections and training new prisoners on the job -- something he takes pride in doing.

See also: - Meet Jeff Mizanskey, Missouri's Only Inmate Sentenced to Death in Prison for Pot
- Gov. Nixon Evades Questions About Jeff Mizanskey, Man Serving Life in Prison for Pot
- "Free Jeff Mizanskey" Efforts Continue with Billboards and 360,000 Signatures

"At least they got a background they can fall onto," Mizanskey says about teaching new prisoners job skills. "They can go into construction, redoing homes, build furniture. At least they won't be left out there doing nothing."

With some of the younger people he comes across, Mizanskey says he tries to pass along some of the wisdom he's learned the hard way.

""I try to talk to a few of these young guys that come in here and try to straighten them out," he says. " I use myself as an example: 'This really is not the life that you want. Straighten yourself out.'"

Mizanskey says that he's noticed some common themes among younger prisoners: They sometimes don't know how to control their temper and don't think about consequences of their actions.

"Some of them have aggression and other problems. They need to look at what they're doing," Mizanskey says. "A lot of them want to blame everybody else all the time. I try to get them to look at themselves and sit down and actually think. I also try to get them to think before they do something instead of just reacting. Stop and think about it before you do it."

He adds: "Most of them are one day getting out, so I hope they take it to heart."

mizanskey_billboard_smc.jpg
Show-Me Cannabis
This week, Washington State implemented its marijuana for recreational use law, officially becoming the second state in the country after Colorado where people can legally buy pot from sellers who move much more than the five to seven pounds Mizanskey was busted for more than twenty years ago.

New York recently became the 23rd state to allow medical marijuana.

Serving a life without parole sentence for marijuana at a time when marijuana laws are changing so drastically has been a theme of Mizanskey's story since last year. He hopes more people bring this to the governor's attention by writing letters. He also hopes people vote.

"Register to vote, let your opinions be heard, because the people are supposed to be running the government, not the government running the people," Mizanskey says. "It's been too long that the minority is leading the majority because the majority wants to sit around and do nothing. That's a shame. If the people actually went out there and did things, I think a lot of things would change."

Follow Ray Downs on Twitter:

E-mail him at Ray.Downs@RiverfrontTimes.com.



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66 comments
ombass
ombass

LETTER SENT!! My thoughts and prayers are with you! 

Scottpaul
Scottpaul

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CeriK
CeriK

People are saying he should be let out but why should he? Unless you are going to allow everyone who was put in for having a small amount of marijuana out then he needs to stay where he is. Rules apply to all, not just to those we don't eel sorry for. 

Amber Ward
Amber Ward

Dusty Bennett think again.. Jeff mizanskey is my uncle and the story is very much true.

helbig
helbig

Let him go. This is so ridiculous that he's doing life while it's legal in some states and will soon be legal everywhere.

Scott Kaufmann
Scott Kaufmann

It is on CaseNet I found a bunch of entires for it.. just search by his last name -- ST V JEFFREY GEORGE MIZANSKEY

Elizabeth Cyr
Elizabeth Cyr

So I tried to fact check and I noticed... Why aren't his charges/sentence available on Casenet? Also, on the MO Dept of Corrections site, he doesn't even show up.

janetglennerwin
janetglennerwin

How the heck can they give people a license to sell marijuana and still put other people in jail for selling it.  Something is really wrong with this picture, don't you think?

Dusty Bennett
Dusty Bennett

This isn't even true people, go to mo dept of corrections and try searching him as an offender and you get nothing!!!! Be for real LIFE for pot???? Dont think so!

fankromank555
fankromank555

Very true stuff i thiunk it makers sense. 


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Hollie Rollings
Hollie Rollings

Lol Yippee Skippee, I seriously hope you are being sarcastic! I think you are.

labelbro
labelbro

I feel for the guy, but he's not in jail "for pot"  He's in jail because the broke the 3-strikes rule.

Amber Ward
Amber Ward

Chris Mizanskey.. Another article for your dad :)

Bob Dre
Bob Dre

meanwhile in Missouri, some people are racking up D.W.I's in the dozens, killing people and never come close to seeing this kinda time.

Casey Jean
Casey Jean

I think prison should be for rapists murders and child molesters. Yes crack/cocaine distributors probably should too along with heroin because what they are distributing kills. Hell alcohol should be illegal it kills people every second in car accidents because people get so stupid on it then go drive, no one has ever died from smoking marijuana. If they have it was laced with something or a serious allergic reaction. This is b.s. that this man is getting a life sentence yet a pastor and two other guys beat and tortured a 13 year old and the pastor MAY get UP TO 2 years in jail and the other two guys up to 3 years probation. The system has everything so backwards.

ombass
ombass

@CeriK We should probably bring back beheadings, too. 

peacefulone48
peacefulone48

@CeriK You are clueless and heartless about justice in this country. The fact that MJ was defined as a Class 1 drug was pure political crap from the Nixon administration. Seriously, you need to take some time to grasp what and how laws should be instituted and applied; it's just about the rules, it's about having integrity, ethics and the spirit of the constitution

citizen.arthur
citizen.arthur

@CeriK Not only should we "allow everyone who was put in for having a small amount of marijuana out" but we should free all people who are incarcerated for any amount of any substance. Then, after all the innocents are free and the law books free of these immoral, destructive laws, we can start going after every lawmaker, cop, lawyer, judge, informant, etc. who had any part at all in putting people in cages and worse for non-crimes. Those are the real criminals...the kind who have done great harm to others...and they should suffer mightily.

helbig
helbig

I think Casenet only goes back so far. Remember that everything wasn't computerized years ago.

Carrieiswhatswrongwi
Carrieiswhatswrongwi

I guess it's hard to have sympathy when you're living the high life. Rolling through Wal-Mart on a scooter

MeanDean
MeanDean

Fast food and obesity are worse for you than pot. Looks like you're well past 3 strikes on both of those. 

iwin111
iwin111

@labelbro So if picking daisies were illegal 20 years ago, and a man happened to get caught picking daisies 3 separate times, you say he should remain in prison for life? Great thinking there. You should run for office. You'd fit right in.

lolno
lolno

@labelbro 3-strikes rules are like "zero tolerance" rules -- i.e. zero intelligence.

isobelquinn
isobelquinn

The problem is that almost *anything* can kill you if you use it improperly.  A person could be beaten to death with a hairbrush, ffs. 


Rapists, murderers, pedophiles, yes--violent offenders and sexual offenders.  Drug dealers? The majority of people in jail for distribution weren't actually distributing jack.  All it takes is possession of ninety dollars worth of heroin (for instance) in Maryland for possession to qualify as distribution.  And I'm sorry, but there aren't that many users out there buying ten dollars worth of anything...especially not when it's a physically addicting substance that must be maintained daily.  I challenge you to find users that don't regularly have an equal or greater amount on them.  The war on drugs is absurd.  I'm not saying I'm up for a methamphetamine crazed free for all, by any means---but humans aren't going to quit tinkering with their neurochemistry anytime soon.  Instead of tossing people in jail for something that really only becomes dangerous and damaging outside of the individual user when it's illegal, maybe we could try having a bit of sense about these issues.  

CeriK
CeriK

@citizen.arthur 


But that's not what is going to end up happening. The governor or someone may end up taking pity on this one person but the others put in jail for the same thing across the county will get no consideration at all. Prisons are a business in this country and far too many people have an interest in keeping jails full. Morality has nothing to do with any of this, it's money.

labelbro
labelbro

@iwin111 @labelbro If you get arrest TWICE for doing something, and then do it again, you're pretty fucking dumb.

yoshimtu
yoshimtu

@iwin111 And you have the thought process of someone less than could make it in. I hope this guy gets released, it's not right. But your thought process is retarded.

shastaRX
shastaRX

@labelbro @iwin111 The only fucking dumb thing is believing because some entity tells you it's illegal, that you can't do it.


Wrong. The constitution grants no power to the federal government to stop consenting adults from using pot.


If the fucking law said you couldn't drink more than one soda a day, would you say the same thing you ignorant twat.

shastaRX
shastaRX

@yoshimtu @iwin111 How is his thought processes any different than this bull shit, illegal law.


It's a plant, just like daises. It shows just because some fuck twit entity ordains something illegal, doesn't make it a lawful law.


The constitution doesn't grant federal power for banning pot. Any law contradicting the supreme law, is null and void.

shastaRX
shastaRX

@mrteedot @lolno @labelbro Rules? Since when did God ordain to government that they can tell a man what to put in his own fucking body?


Our system of government is clear, and no authority was given to the federal government to ban pot, period. Any law that goes against the supreme law of the land, is null and void.


Only a fool thinks because other people say "no" it means you shouldn't do it, you chained fool.


Idiot. 

yoshimtu
yoshimtu

@shastaRX Again, you're a fucking moron. First off, drugs have been illegal for quite awhile now, bad or not, so just randomly making coke illegal is a bit different.


Secondly, yea, I would stop drinking soda if it was the law. Not only that but that'd also mean I wouldn't be able to get it at the stores and such, so I'd have to go out of the way, pay higher prices, for something that's bad for me anyways. Why the fuck would I continue? And coke is my preferred beverage, but I'm not going to break the law to do it. ESPECIALLY IF I GOT CAUGHT TWICE BEFORE. That is so fucking stupid to do it again. Again, I don't think he deserves life, but he definitely deserves something that'll make him stop, because guess what. You're not the one that gets to decide if a law should be passed or not, jackass.

labelbro
labelbro

@shastaRX @labelbro @iwin111 Yes, shithead.  If soda was illegal, and I had already been arrested twice for drinking soda (and being stupid enough to get caught), and if I got arrested one more time I would be thrown in jail for a long time, then I would STOP DRINKING SODA. Because you know what, jail fucking SUCKS, and that soda isn't worth it.  


It's not hard, fuckstick.  

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