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Long-serving inmate may be released

The Michigan Department of Corrections may release its longest-serving non-violent offender. A 46-year-old man nicknamed 'White Boy Rick" has been in prison since he was convicted of drug possession at the age of 17. After the man was turned down for parole three times, a judge in Wayne County Circuit Court ordered a resentencing hearing for the man's case.

There are some mitigating circumstances in the man's case that could influence a judge's decision. When the man was 14 years old, a federal task force recruited him to infiltrate the Detroit drug world and work for it as a paid informant. Members of the task force even encouraged the teen to drop out of ninth grade. Documents from the Drug Enforcement Agency and the FBI as well as statements from retired law enforcement officers have confirmed the man's history as a paid informant.

In May 1987, the accused man was 17 years old and no longer employed by the government when a traffic stop led to his conviction for cocaine possession and subsequent imprisonment. Recently, there has been a lot of support from the local community for the man's release from prison.

A criminal defense lawyer may be able to help someone who is facing drug possession charges to avoid a lengthy prison sentence by negotiating for a plea deal. Some defendants are able to have certain charges dropped by agreeing to plead guilty to other charges. If a defendant was underage when the incident occurred, a lawyer may be able to advocate for the case to be tried in juvenile court rather than in adult criminal court.

Source: The Oakland Press, "Former Oakland resident may walk after 28 years for drug possession," Scott Burnstein, Sept. 3, 2015

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