A Sedalian will soon be a free man after he is released from prison in less than two weeks after serving more than two decades.
According to a release from attorney Dan Viets, Jeff Mizanskey, 62, will be released between 8 and 10 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 1. Mizanskey has served about 20 years of a life sentence in the Missouri Department of Corrections for drug-related charges. He had been sentenced to serve life without parole under Missouri’s “prior and persistent drug offender” law, although he had not been previously convicted of a felony other than marijuana law violations.
Gov. Jay Nixon commuted his sentence May 22, making Mizanskey immediately eligible for parole, and a parole hearing took place Aug. 6 at the Jefferson City Correctional Center. He received the good news about two weeks ago that his parole had been granted.
According to the release, he plans to live in Sedalia with his son Chris Mizanskey following his release.
Support for Mizanskey’s release through petitions and social media have surged in recent years from family members, lawmakers and advocates for marijuana legalization. He was the only person in Missouri serving a life sentence without any possibility for parole for nonviolent marijuana-related offenses.
“Jeff intends to be very active on behalf of marijuana law reform upon his release from custody,” Viets said in the release. “While he will do nothing which would jeopardize his parole status, he will be an outspoken advocate for repeal of the criminal prohibition of responsible adult use and medical use of marijuana.”
According to an Associated Press report, Mizanskey had two previous felony convictions for marijuana-related offenses when he was sentenced in 1996 to life without parole for a third felony offense. At the time, the law allowed a sentence of life without parole for people with three felony drug convictions and has since been changed, but it was not made retroactively effective. The repeal will become effective in January 2017.
Police said Mizanskey conspired to sell six pounds of pot to a dealer connected to Mexican drug cartels.
Mizanskey’s previous felonies were for possession and sale of marijuana in 1984 and possession in 1991.