Paey and his supporters have argued that he never distributed any drugs — that he purchased and consumed huge amounts on his own for constant pain. Paey has been debilitated by a 1985 car accident, suffers from multiple sclerosis, and uses a wheelchair.
He refused to accept a plea because he didn't want to be branded a drug dealer.
The case illustrates flaws in the law and how people who are dependent on strong pain medication can get tangled up in the government's effort to combat drugs, Paey's attorney, John Flannery of Leesburg, Va., said. Because of mandatory minimum sentences, the judge in Paey's case had no choice but the 25-year sentence after he was conviction.
The board — Crist, State Attorney Bill McCollum, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink and Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson — voted unanimously to approve Paey's release, overriding the recommendation of the parole commission that his application be denied.
State Attorney Bernie McCabe, whose office prosecuted Paey, said he had no reaction to the news.
This kind of thing really makes me crazy. There's lots to rant about in this story--our insane approach to drug policy and crime in general, limitless prosecutorial discretion--but today, I choose to rejoice, because after everyone else in the system failed Richard Paey, the last little safety valve in the system actually worked. Huzzah.