Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas 2015 with Rick Wershe, Jr.

Unlike the popular song of the season, Rick Wershe, Jr. did not have himself a Merry Little Christmas. It was just the opposite. But he had a bit of cheer from the outpouring of support for his holiday food and gift drive. He asked me to thank all of you who helped Christmas be a little better for a bunch of families in need.

As usual Christmas was a real bummer for Rick Wershe, Jr. Yet, he’s gratified and grateful. There’s a logical explanation for this seeming contradiction.

Christmas is a miserable day in prison, any prison. “There’s no holidays in prison, Vince,” Rick told me in a holiday phone call. But Wershe has taken some solace in the fact so many people who believe in him pitched in and helped with his holiday food drive for the needy.

During the holidays in recent years Rick has asked for help—not for himself, but for people on the outside who are in need. This year, Rick’s supporters really came through in a big way.

Truck loaded with food from Rick Wershe's annual holiday food/present drive for needy families. (Photo courtesy of Dave Majkowski.)

“We were very pleased", Pamela Dickerson of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Detroit told me. “We had way more (from Rick Wershe’s holiday food and gift drive) than we expected.” Ms. Dickerson said they were able to feed 80 families with over 30 donated turkeys and food was left over. What’s more, they were able to provide much-needed winter hats, gloves, mittens and throw-blankets for kids without such basics.

Some of the food donated to the needy by Rick Wershe supporters. (Photo courtesy of Dave Majkowski.)
Immanuel Lutheran Church coordinated the distribution of the holiday food for Rick Wershe's annual drive. (Photo courtesy of Dave Majkowski.)

Rick got to talk to Ms. Dickerson by phone before Christmas and he was gratified when she told him she couldn’t believe he had led this project from inside prison. The satisfaction he derived from helping people in need helps offset the melancholy of spending the holiday season behind bars.

“I haven’t had a Christmas in 28 years,” Rick told me. “It’s just another day.”

On Christmas, as he has done for decades, Wershe got up, had some breakfast, watched the news on TV, did a little exercise and spent an hour and fifteen minutes “in the yard” as it is called. He got to call his family to wish them merry Christmas; then it was back to his cell.

What about Christmas dinner? Rick Wershe scoffs when asked about that. “We used to get a real piece of turkey for Christmas but since the State of Michigan privatized food service for the prisons we get cheap processed meat, turkey parts ground up and pressed in to slabs,” he said.

Christmas 2016 may be different for Rick Wershe, Jr...but only if someone in the criminal justice system decides to do the right thing.

Going in to 2016 Rick Wershe, Jr. has three possibilities to get out from under his life sentence for a 1988 drug conviction. Any of the three might offer salvation. It is impossible to rate one over another in terms of the odds of setting Rick Wershe free.

There is a civil rights case pending in the federal court in Grand Rapids. Wershe’s long-suffering pro bono attorney, Ralph Musilli, filed the lawsuit based on the Michigan Parole Board's repeated refusal in recent years to consider parole for Wershe. Michigan’s harsh “650 law” which called for a mandatory life sentence for anyone convicted of possession of more than 650 grams of illegal drugs has been repealed. That means Wershe is eligible for parole.

All others in Michigan convicted under similar circumstances have been paroled. All except Rick Wershe. That fits the U.S. Constitution Eight Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. The fact Wershe has been treated differently than everyone else similarly charged constitutes unusual punishment. The fact he has been behind bars for nearly 28 years for a non-violent crime while drug hit men, cold-blooded killers, have been imprisoned and released in the time Wershe has been incarcerated fits the definition of cruel punishment.

The judge on the case, Gordon Quist, tried to throw out the Wershe civil rights lawsuit as frivolous litigation but the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed and sent the case back to Quist in 2014 to hold a hearing to determine the facts behind the parole board’s refusal to consider parole for Wershe. Judge Quist has sat on the case ever since. There’s nothing in the Court of Appeals remand that specifies when Quist has to act on the case. Federal judges have broad power over matters before their court and they don’t like it when an appeals court tells them they were wrong.

There’s one other thing to remember about the federal lawsuit and it’s powerful. Pursuant to the ruling by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals the trial court would likely hold a full hearing to explore what the Michigan Parole Board has and hasn’t done in denying Wershe parole. 

Attorney Musilli would have the opportunity to call witnesses and subpoena documents—lots of documents—that would show what the law enforcement establishment really “has” on Rick Wershe, Jr. This blog has already shown there is plenty of reason to believe the legend of White Boy Rick Wershe is built on lies. (See the Informant America blog posts: White Boy Rick—‘The Records Do Not Exist’ and Did a DEA Agent Mislead the Parole Board about White Boy Rick?)  The files of the FBI, DEA, Detroit Police and the Wayne County Prosecutor will likely show just how threadbare the accusations against him have been all along. As this blog has asserted all along, Rick Wershe, Jr. is still in prison as retribution for informing on politically powerful people in Detroit.

The importance of this kind of hearing is about changing perceptions that have hardened and calcified for nearly 30 years. One of the reasons Wershe is still behind bars is the enduring perception of him as a “drug lord” and drug “kingpin.” People in the criminal justice system and in the political system with the power to help Wershe are reluctant to do so in large part because of his reputation. They don’t want the voting public to remember them releasing a big-time drug impresario. That myth about his drug past must be destroyed to enable some key people grow a backbone. A full, let-it-all-hang-out hearing would go a long way toward that goal. A full court hearing would spoon-feed the truth to media organizations complicit in smearing Rick Wershe, Jr.’s reputation for decades.

The second chance for a Wershe parole rests with the Michigan Supreme Court. (See the Informant America blog post Rick Wershe and the Lockridge Case.) A Michigan Supreme Court decision last summer (the Lockridge decision) restores trial judge discretion in sentencing people convicted. Wershe’s trial judge, Dana Hathaway of Wayne County Circuit Court has made it plain she’s ready to sentence Wershe to what amounts to time-served. But first his case must be sent to her by the Michigan Supreme Court. Ordinarily, the Wershe case should be remanded to Judge Hathaway under the Lockridge decision in the foreseeable future. But as we’ve seen, the Wershe case is far from ordinary when it comes to treatment by the justice system.

The third and least likely chance for Wershe is a gubernatorial pardon or clemency from Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. Good luck with that. Despite the fact some influential national and state Republicans are now questioning the wisdom of providing 24/7, 365 room and board for years for non-violent drug offenders like Rick Wershe, Snyder shows no inclination toward making changes in Michigan’s parole and pardon system. Like most state governors, Snyder did not issue any holiday pardons or grant clemency.

As a corrections-oriented organization known as The Marshall Project explains in a recent post on its Web site, “a pardon is a restoration of someone’s rights and privileges — often to vote, get a business license, or buy a firearm — usually after someone has completed a prison sentence. An early release from prison is a commutation.”

A few state leaders buck the generalization of governors ignoring prison pardons. For instance, Kentucky’s outgoing Governor Steve Beshear issued 201 prisoner pardons as his last act as governor. A few days before Christmas New York’s Governor Mario Cuomo announced plans to pardon thousands of law-abiding adults who were convicted of non-violent crimes as teenagers. Wershe fits that description. If he were incarcerated in New York he almost certainly would be high on that list.

But he isn’t. He’s in Michigan where the perennially corrupt Detroit/Wayne County political machine still has a lot of clout. Protégés of some of the biggest political crooks of all time are ready to pounce on Snyder if he dares to release a “kingpin” and “drug lord.”

So Wershe’s best hope lies with (a) the Michigan Supreme Court applying its own Lockridge decision to his case or (b) with U.S. District Judge Gordon Quist of Grand Rapids clearing some time on his court calendar to do the right thing and hold a hearing on the Wershe case in the interest of justice. Rick Wershe is hoping 2016 will be a better year than the past 27.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Ninety-five prison sentence commutations - but not for Rick Wershe

This is a frustrating season for Richard J. Wershe, Jr. Not just because it’s Christmas time. It’s because clemency for drug offenses is all the rage at the federal level but nothing of the kind is being done at the state level where he is incarcerated.

This past Friday President Barack Obama commuted the prison sentences of 95 drug offenders. Rick Wershe, Jr. wasn’t one of them. That’s because he is in a state prison in Michigan. The President doesn’t have any power over state cases. The inmates who got a break from the Oval Office are in federal prisons.

President Barack Obama (CNN photo)

This was the largest group of commutations in Obama’s presidency. It is part of his effort to reform the nation’s prison system, to change who stays in and who is set free. The President believes no purpose is served by filling the nation’s prisons with non-violent drug offenders. This isn’t an effort to free-‘em-all. Rather it is about re-thinking who should remain behind bars for years and who deserves a second chance. It’s about letting the punishment fit the crime.

“If we can show at the federal level that we can be smart on crime, more cost effective, more just, more proportionate, then we can set a trend for states to follow as well,” President Obama said. He added: “That’s our hope.”

In 2013, the most recent year statistics were available, there were 2,220,300 adults incarcerated in US federal and state prisons, and county jails. Thousands of those prisoners are behind bars for non-violent drug convictions. It is costing each American taxpayer a bundle. 

It is a consequence of the get-tough-on-crime politics of years gone by. It sounded great in campaign speeches. It sounded great on bumper stickers. It sounded great after a few drinks at the bar. But somewhere along the way all the tough-on-crime chest-thumpers discovered an unpleasant truth: throwing all the criminals in prison for decades-long sentences, regardless of the nature of the crime, comes with a hefty price tag. That money comes out of the wallets of the taxaphobic macho talkers as well as the rest of us. In Michigan one-fifth to one-quarter of the entire general fund budget is spent on prisons and prisoners. To paraphrase Dirty Harry, “Do ya feel safer punk? Well, do ya?”

Let’s be quite clear for the “law and order” hotheads who are prone to jumping to conclusions. (They’re always about order, seldom about law.)

This is not about “coddling” criminals, especially repeat offenders. There are some people who cannot get along in civilized society. These are the criminal sociopaths and psychopaths. There’s a difference. Sociopaths tend to be volatile and prone to violence at the slightest provocation. A psychopath, on the other hand, tends to be cool, calculating, manipulative and unemotional when committing horrific crimes. Both types usually deserve to be locked up, period. No state Department of Corrections is going to “correct” these criminals.

There are many prison inmates who don’t fit these descriptions. Richard J. Wershe, Jr. is one of them. Yet he has been in prison going on 28 years.

The inmates whose sentences were commuted by President Obama fit a set of commutation guidelines established by the Justice Department. Those guidelines are as follows:
  • They are currently serving a federal sentence in prison and, by operation of law, likely would have received a substantially lower sentence if convicted of the same offense(s) today;
  • They are non-violent, low-level offenders without significant ties to large scale criminal organizations, gangs or cartels;
  • They have served at least 10 years of their prison sentence;
  • They do not have a significant criminal history;
  • They have demonstrated good conduct in prison; and
  • They have no history of violence prior to or during their current term of imprisonment.   

Rick Wershe, Jr. qualifies on all these points except the first one; he’s a state prisoner. He’s not in a federal penitentiary. If he were, he would have been out years ago under federal sentencing guidelines and parole procedures.

One of Rick Wershe’s major problems is his false reputation; the law enforcement concocted myth that he was a drug lord and kingpin. It is a lie that has stuck to him for decades. It is a big reason he is still behind bars. No one wants to release the legendary “White Boy Rick,” the amazing white teen who allegedly bossed around street-hardened adult black criminals and flooded the mean streets of Detroit with as much as 440 pounds of cocaine each month without any of his black competitors wiping him out. That’s the preposterous lie the so-called No Crack Crew of DEA and Detroit Police narcs foisted on the gullible public, reporters and prosecutors.

A full evidentiary hearing in to the legend of White Boy Rick would easily dispel the myth but that’s like a crucifix with a garland of garlic around it—good for warding off vampires but also good for warding off judges, prosecutors, attorneys and the political hacks who make up the Michigan Parole Board. Who knows what can of worms a hearing with witnesses, sworn testimony, cross-examination and evidence might open?

So Rick Wershe sits in a prison cell, facing another year behind bars for daring to help the FBI prosecute politically-connected drug dealers and influential corrupt cops. The cut-my-taxes crowd is going to shell out about $50 thousand dollars—again for another year—to help the corrupt political machine in Detroit and Wayne County heap retribution on a man a Detroit FBI agent said is arguably the most valuable informant the Detroit FBI has ever had.

Hate taxes? Maybe you should start asking Governor Snyder and the Michigan Legislature why they are wasting tax dollars on Richard J. Wershe, Jr.  

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Big news in the War on Drugs - We're still losing

The non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a new report telling us what we have known for a long time; we are losing the War on Drugs. Richard J. Wershe, Jr. has been a political prisoner of the War on Drugs for almost 28 years. He’s been in prison for a non-violent drug conviction after being arrested at age 17. Numerous murderers and rapists have been convicted, imprisoned and released in the time Wershe has been behind bars. But then, they didn’t tell the FBI about corrupt cops and they didn’t help the Feds put former Detroit Mayor Coleman Young’s brother-in-law in prison for drug crimes. Wershe did. He’s been paying for it ever since.

Richard Nixon, the only proven criminal to occupy the White House, launched the spectacular national policy failure called the War on Drugs in 1971. The nation has spent over one trillion dollars on the War on Drugs but it has been in retreat since the first day.

(Tim Kelly)

In all wars, there’s money to be made. The drug traffickers are obvious beneficiaries, but we seldom look at the enormous profits of the big banks which launder the dealers’ money. Also overlooked in the War on Drugs is the inconvenient truth that narcotics enforcement is a profit center for the nation’s police departments. There’s big money in asset seizures and as part of a screwed up national policy, Uncle Sam doles out grants to local police departments for the number of drug arrests and asset seizures they make. It’s like giving them a ticket-writing quota, only in this case it's for their buy-and-bust, kick-in-doors farcical battle to make their communities safe from the drug epidemic that has continued unabated for 44 years.

Another Richard, this one named Richard J. Wershe, Jr. was recruited by the federal government at age 14 to join the Detroit battle front of the national War on Drugs. He did his job as a secret informant, was dropped after the government got what it needed and eventually he turned to the only trade he knew; the one the government put him in. He briefly became an illegal drug wholesaler, was quickly caught and sent to prison for the rest of his life.

Rick Wershe with his prison artwork. It needs to be framed as he has been with claims he is a drug kingpin. (Free Richard Wershe, Jr. Facebook page.)

Wershe was a headline sensation in the late 1980s. Gullible and/or lazy reporters and editors couldn’t get enough of the story of a baby-faced white teen who the Detroit cops and prosecutors claimed was a drug lord and/or drug kingpin. From a review of news archives from that era it is apparent that it never occurred to anyone in the media to stop and wonder how a cocky white kid could be the “lord” over street-hardened grown black men who had fought their way—literally—to the top of the narcotics underworld. Reporters and editors never asked Detroit's narcs to explain how this white kid could manage to peddle 200 kilos—441 pounds—of cocaine on the streets of Detroit month in and month out and still be alive. Reporters and editors apparently never asked if he had a gang supporting him. That would be essential for anyone moving that much dope each month. They never asked, apparently, why he was never charged with conspiracy to sell illegal drugs. Conspiracy, racketeering, operating a Continuing Criminal Enterprise (CCE); those are the usual charges against drug lords and drug kingpins. Wershe was never charged with any of that.

The Wayne County Prosecutor at the time, the late John O’Hair, was seemingly thrilled to have a big case against a white defendant in the War on Drugs. The prosecutor’s attitude seemed to be, ‘See? See? This isn’t just a black problem. We’re going to prosecute a 17-year old white narcotics Godfather! We want you to ignore the fact we are not charging anyone else with him.’ 

Prosecutor O’Hair, who occupied an elective office, must have been pleased beyond measure to show Detroit's black voters that he was fearlessly going after white drug dealers, too. The prosecution of the teen the media liked to call White Boy Rick validated a widely held belief in the inner city that the cocaine epidemic of the ‘80s and the heroin epidemic of the’70s was due to a sinister and secret plot by The (white) Man  to enslave the black population. Most black Detroiters knew the drug problem went beyond racism but O’Hair was pandering to the conspiracy theory crowd in Detroit and they loved it because it made them feel better. Whites have their own pet conspiracy theories about "they" and "them" on a number of issues as evidenced in modern national politics.

That was the local political atmosphere in Detroit when Rick Wershe went to prison over 27 years ago. Fast forward to December, 2015 and it is obvious the War on Drugs which devoured Rick Wershe as a prisoner is a colossal and costly failure.

The use of illegal drugs is as bad now as it was then. Five years ago the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), a White House operation, set a series of goals for the War on Drugs. A new report this month from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Washington’s official watchdog agency, says the Office of National Drug Control Policy has not met a single goal it established five years ago. Use of illegal drugs continues unabated. Not only have they not achieved any of the goals they set for themselves five years ago in the War on Drugs, in some cases the problem is even worse.

Numbers are dreary and boring but a few are worth considering. Drug-related deaths account for one of the biggest policy goal failures. 

Baseline (2009 drug deaths): 39,147
Target (2015 drug deaths):     33,275
Reality (2013 drug deaths):    46,471

In 2010, the White House was dealing with 2009 figures showing drug-related deaths nationally totaled 39,147. They set a goal of reducing drug-related deaths to 33,275 by this year. They failed. The figures for 2013, the latest available, show 46,471 drug-related deaths in the United States. That's an increase of almost 20 percent over 2009.

Interestingly, Detroit managed to show a decline in drug-related deaths in 2013. A cynic might say it's because Detroit's addicts are more experienced in how to abuse drugs without killing themselves.Research into drug-related deaths and hospital admissions for drug overdoses shows heroin is replacing crack cocaine as the narcotic of choice on the streets of Detroit and many other cities.

No matter how the numbers are crunched or nitpicked, the fact remains the United States has failed miserably to win the War on Drugs. Internet satirists are mocking the USA for its failure in the War on Drugs AND the War on Terror.

This past week a British blogger spoofed the international news media for a time with a bogus story that notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán—who has escaped from prison twice—has issued a warning to the ISIS terrorist group to quit messing with his drug shipments to the Middle East—or else.

“My men will destroy you," Guzman allegedly warned the head of ISIS in an "encrypted" email. 

(Gullible reporters rushed to report this scoop without stopping to ask themselves about the notion of Mexican drugs being sold in the Middle East. They didn't ask themselves why they hadn't heard of this before. They didn't wonder how Guzman got the private email address of ISIS head Abu Bakd Badhdadi. They didn't wonder how the head of ISIS read the email if it was encrypted. But as we've seen with the Rick Wershe "kingpin" myth, many reporters are easily conned. They don't let facts get in the way of being the first to "break" a big story.)
                                                                                            The "El Chapo" satirical spoof went on: "The world is not yours to dictate. I pity the next son of a whore who tries to interfere with the business of the Sinaloa Cartel. I will have their heart and tongue torn from them.” He added: “You [ISIS] are not soldiers. You are nothing but lowly p*ssies. Your god cannot save you from the true terror that my men will levy at you if you continue to impact my operation.”

Maybe Steve Charnock, the British satire blogger is on to something. Maybe the United States should strike a deal with Joaquín Guzmán and his murderous Sinaloa drug cartel. Maybe Washington could tell Guzman it will quit pretending it is going to destroy his monopoly of illegal drugs flooding the streets of the United States if he will do what the U.S. government seemingly cannot do—put an end to ISIS once and for all.

Such a deal would put the nation’s narcs out of business, but they aren’t accomplishing much anyway. While they are at the bar congratulating themselves on the two years and umpteen buckets of money they spent putting some major drug dealer in prison, three other street entrepreneurs are vying to take his place. It's been like this since Richard Nixon declared the War on Drugs in 1971

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Rick Wershe and the Lockridge Case

Rick Wershe’s latest shot at getting out of prison hinges on the Michigan Supreme Court applying one of its own recent rulings to the Wershe case, as it did recently with 50 other cases. Based on the court’s actions thus far, it would be odd indeed if the high court doesn’t send his case back to the trial judge for consideration of re-sentencing; something she has indicated she has every intention of doing once the top court sends it back to her.

If Rick Wershe gets out of prison any time soon it will be due in part to a guy who strangled his wife. Perhaps I should explain.

Last July the Michigan Supreme Court issued an important ruling that is sure to have a big impact on sentencing in criminal cases, including the case of Rick Wershe. The high court’s opinion was in The People of the State of Michigan v. Rahim Omarkhan Lockridge. Lockridge was charged with 1st Degree Murder in the strangulation death of his wife, Kenyatte, in Southfield in 2011. There had been a history of domestic violence preceding her death. An Oakland County jury found Lockridge guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

Rahim Omarkahn Lockridge (Dept. of Corrections photo)

Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Nanci Grant went above the state sentencing guidelines and tacked an additional 10 months on to Lockridge’s sentence. He was sentenced to 8 to 15 years in prison. The judge told the Detroit Free Press she went above the guidelines because of the violence of the crime, the fact the couple’s children witnessed the murder of their mother and because Rahim Lockridge violated a court order by even being in the apartment.

Lockridge appealed. His lawyer argued the judge based the additional minimum time on evidence not presented to the jury. Furthermore, the Lockridge appeal attacked the Michigan sentencing guidelines themselves. His appeal cited a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and argued the sentencing guidelines were inherently invalid because they placed an unconstitutional restraint on judicial discretion in sentencing. In late July the Michigan Supreme Court agreed.

That decision has far-reaching implications because it revises the fundamentals of how judges throughout the state handle sentences for convicted defendants. In the past judges were mostly tethered to the established guidelines. That was the case when Rick Wershe was sentenced to mandatory life without parole. Thomas Jackson, his trial judge at the time (since retired) had no choice under the law. That law was eventually modified to allow for parole consideration. Jackson revised Wershe's sentence to conform to the updated law but the Michigan Parole Board has denied Wershe a parole multiple times.

The Lockridge decision means trial court judges now have sentencing discretion. Proponents say it gives the trial judge latitude to consider all the circumstances of a case. Opponents say it will result in sentencing disparity.

The fallout from Lockridge can be seen in a recent string of Michigan Supreme Court case decisions. On October 28, 2015, the Michigan Supreme Court issued fifty (50) “Lockridge” opinions on pending cases, sending them back to the trial courts in counties throughout Michigan. This doesn’t mean each defendant will receive a new sentence. What it means is the trial judge in each case now has an order from the Michigan Supreme Court to review the sentence in the case that has been remanded (returned) to them for sentencing evaluation. The judge can stick with the original sentence or re-sentence the defendant now that trial judges have been given discretion to depart from the established sentencing guidelines. Many more “Lockridge” opinions and remands (sending the case back to the trial court) are sure to follow in the coming months.

Fourteen of the 50 “Lockridge” cases are from Wayne County, where Prosecutor Kym Worthy is fighting vigorously to keep Rick Wershe in prison, arguing his original sentence was valid under prevailing state law at the time. Worthy’s office argues changing Wershe’s sentence would be tinkering with the case sentence retroactively. That’s exactly what the Michigan Supreme Court Lockridge decision allows. Wayne County Circuit Court judge Dana Hathaway, Wershe’s trial court judge, reasoned that Lockridge should apply to the Wershe case, too. The Wayne County prosecutor appealed and the Michigan Court of Appeals reversed her decision on a legal technicality.

Some of the Wayne County cases sent back under Lockridge for possible re-sentencing are doozies.

Rafeal Emmanuel Dean (Dept of Corrections Photo)

Rafeal “Ra Ra” Emmanuel Dean is doing time because he had several of his homies beat a neighbor to a pulp while Dean fired a pistol next to the victim’s head. It was over a neighborhood dispute that had angered Dean. This guy is a repeat offender. He once tortured several men by burning their heads and faces with hot forks over a pair of stolen tennis shoes.

Martez Clemons (Dept. of Corrections Photo)

Another “Lockridge” case going back for sentencing re-consideration involves Martez Clemons. He’s doing time for raping a 55-year old Detroit woman repeatedly after breaking in to her apartment. The police found him passed out in the woman’s apartment with his pants down around his ankles. He was convicted of six counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct. He was also convicted on charges of home invasion and assault with intent to do great bodily harm.

Rick Wershe was never charged or convicted of any violent crime. His drug case was major but it was a first-time conviction handed down when he was 18 years old. Attorney Ralph Musilli, who has been waging court battles for Wershe for a long time, is frustrated that the Michigan Supreme Court isn't giving Wershe emergency consideration in light of the fact he's been in prison far longer than the others who are benefiting from the Lockridge ruling.

“What’s happening in this case makes no sense,” Musilli says, “particularly in light of Lockridge, particularly in light of all these cases that have come tumbling down the mountain.”

Rick Wershe’s appeal is sitting in the stack of cases before the Michigan Supreme Court. Wershe’s appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court was filed October 30, 2015 and the docket sheet indicates the trial court record was received on November 30th. It should be noted the 50 cases decided on October 28th had been in the system for a while. The wheels of justice grind slowly. In Rick Wershe’s case it has taken 27 years for them to begin turning.