Lock him away in agony

Here’s the latest from the Florida Supreme Court. Not Bush-vs-Gore stuff, just a matter of humanity.

Florida’s Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from Richard Paey, a wheelchair-using father of three who is currently serving a 25-year mandatory prison sentence for taking his own pain medication… Richard Paey– who suffers both multiple sclerosis and from the aftermath of a disastrous and barbaric back surgery that resulted in multiple major malpractice judgments–now receives virtually twice as much morphine in prison than the equivalent in opioid medications for which he was convicted of forging prescriptions. He had previously been given legitimate prescriptions for the same doses of pain medicine– but made the mistake of moving to Florida from New Jersey, where he could not find a physician to treat his pain adequately. Each of his medical conditions alone can produce agony. Paey has described his pain as constantly feeling like his legs had been “dipped into a furnace.”

The Ivy-league educated attorney has no prior criminal convictions and weeks of surveillance by narcotics agents did not find him selling the medications….

In a jeremiad of a dissent, Judge James Seals called the sentence “illogical, absurd, unjust and unconstitutional,” noting that Paey “could conceivably go to prison for a longer stretch for peacefully but unlawfully purchasing 100 oxycodone pills from a pharmacist than had he robbed the pharmacist at knife point, stolen fifty oxycodone pills which he intended to sell to children waiting outside, and then stabbed the pharmacist.” But the Florida Supreme Court disagreed…

(I previously posted about US incarceration rates here.)

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