White Boy Rick Denied Appeal To Be Re-Sentenced By Michigan Supreme Court

By Seth Ferranti 06/28/16

Richard "White Boy Rick" Wershe will now take his appeal to federal court where he hopes to be re-sentenced to time served. 

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White Boy Rick Denied Appeal To Be Re-Sentenced By Michigan Supreme Court
Richard Wershe aka White Boy Rick

In the latest setback to his 28-year odyssey in the criminal justice system, Richard “White Boy Rick” Wershe, was denied an appeal to be re-sentenced by Michigan’s Supreme Court. The Fix has reported on this case regularly since it was discovered that a Detroit federal drug task force used 14-year-old Wershe as an informant at the height of the War on Drugs in the late 1980s.

Last September, it finally looked like Wershe was going to get some relief from the 650 lifer law—a statute now off the books in Michigan that Wershe was sentenced under—when Wayne County Judge Dana Hathaway was ready to re-sentence him to time served. But prosecutor Kym Worthy appealed and the case found itself in front of the state’s Supreme Court. Now with his state appeals exhausted, Wershe’s legal team is looking to move the re-sentencing matter into federal courts.

“I definitely think now that the federal court is looking at it and getting involved, something will happen,” Rick says. “There’s other national media coverage looking at it. Someone is gonna have to say, ‘At least give us a reason as to why you are doing this?’”

In a brief order the court said, "We are not persuaded that the question presented should be reviewed by this court.” Sounds like a cop-out if anything. Just another criminal justice agency passing the buck, despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court said that juveniles can’t be sentenced to life, as Wershe was at the age of 17. With the latest round of rulings, Michigan is saying that Wershe’s life sentence, for around 8 kilograms of cocaine, isn’t unconstitutional. Even though he is the only juvenile lifer still in the prison system.

“I’ve come to grips that it is what it is and I have to deal with it day by day,” Rick says. “But I don’t know how a lot of these people can get up and look in the mirror everyday, and get up everyday and claim that honesty and integrity is everything in the justice system. Then why are you still keeping me in prison? And you let rapists and murderers and child molesters free.” 

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After landing on the US Marshals Top-15 Most Wanted list and being sentenced to a 25 year sentence in federal prison for a first-time, nonviolent LSD offense, Seth built a writing and journalism career from his cell block. His raw portrayals of prison life and crack era gangsters graced the pages of Don DivaHoopshype and VICE. From prison he established Gorilla Convict, a true-crime publisher and website that documents the stories that the mainstream media can’t get with books like Prison Stories and Street Legends. His story has been covered by The Washington PostThe Washington Times, and Rolling Stone.

Since his release in 2015 he’s worked hard to launch GR1ND Studios, where true crime and comics clash. GR1ND Studios is bringing variety to the comic shelf by way of the American underground. These groundbreaking graphic novels tell the true story of prohibition-era mobsters, inner-city drug lords, and suburban drug dealers. Seth is currently working out of St. Louis, Missouri, writing for The FixVICEOZY, Daily Beast, and Penthouse and moving into the world of film. Check out his first short, Easter Bunny Assassin at sethferranti.com. You can find Seth on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.

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