On Tuesday, December 8th, Richard DeLisi walked out of South Bay Correctional Facility after serving 31 long years.
While the 71-year-old was held away in prison – his wife died, his son overdosed, and his daughter was paralyzed in a brutal car accident. A stripped life and a broken family, all stemming from a grossly inflated cannabis conviction.
The Longest-Serving Nonviolent Cannabis Prisoner
In September of 1988, Richard was caught in the middle of a reverse-sting operation led by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, as well as numerous other agencies. In agreeing to help smuggle 1,500 pounds of cannabis from Colombia to Florida, he was arrested and charged with Trafficking in Cannabis and Conspiracy to Traffic in Cannabis.
Sentencing guidelines generally recommend crimes of that nature to result in 12-17 years in prison, but Judge Dennis Maloney opted for an extreme escalation in sentencing. He gave DeLisi three consecutive 30-year sentences – 90 years in prison. The judge’s reasoning was based on an unfounded belief that Richard, along with his brother, were the ringleaders of a larger crime syndicate. Despite sensationalist headlines and fabricated rumors,…