Missouri governor commutes life sentence for Mizanskey, in prison for non-violent drug offenses

– Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon on Friday commuted the sentence of Jeff Mizanskey, a man Missouri had jailed for life under its persistent offender statute that was repealed in 2014.

Nixon’s action on Friday stopped short of a pardon, but does allow Mizanskey, a 61-year-old whose family says he has health issues, to make his case.

“In the case of the commutation, my action provides Jeff Mizanskey with the opportunity to demonstrate that he deserves parole,” Nixon said in a one-line statement.

Mizanskey was put in Jail nearly a decade ago in 1996 under the state’s former “three-strikes” rule. He was first charged for selling an ounce of marijuana to an under cover police informant and was subsequently caught with a half pound when police searched his home the next day. He was caught again seven years later with more than an ounce, and a third time two years later while driving a friend to make a buy from what turned out to be a police sting operation.

Earlier this year, his son and a group of legislators assembled by Show Me Cannabis delivered 400,000 signatures on a petition calling on Nixon to grant Mizanskey clemency.

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