'White Boy Rick' Makes Another Push for Resentencing While Serving Life for Cocaine

By Seth Ferranti 12/09/16

Richard Wershe Jr filed a petition in court seeking a reduced sentence as he continues to fight for his freedom.

via author

Continuing his fight for freedom from an unjust sentence, lawyers for Richard Wershe, Jr. aka White Boy Rick, just filed a petition in U.S. District Court on Tuesday requesting that their client be re-sentenced immediately.

Wershe, who was arrested as a juvenile, is serving a life sentence under Michigan’s 650 Lifer Law for eight kilos of cocaine. He’s been incarcerated for close to 29 years and counting. His case has been well publicized by The Fix and currently a feature documentary and Hollywood movie are in the works, profiling his plight and the travesty of justice that’s occurred in Detroit.  

"Hundreds of defendants convicted of violent and nonviolent crimes committed as juveniles have been provided an opportunity for resentencing," Wershe’s attorney, Paul Louisell, wrote in the petition. "The parole board failed to explain why petitioner was denied parole or what petitioner could do to merit parole. Accordingly, petitioner is being treated differently (more severely) than other juveniles convicted of violent and non-violent crimes with maximum penalties of life imprisonment in violation of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

Wershe was extremely close to freedom in September 2015 when Wayne County Judge Dana Hathaway said Wershe was entitled to a new sentence, citing his age at the time of his crime and his nearly 30 years served. The judge’s opinion said that Wershe “has been punished more severely than he could have been for first-degree murder, rape, kidnapping, armed robbery or other exceptionally grave and violent crimes.” But Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy appealed the decision to Michigan’s Supreme Court who denied the re-sentencing. In a brief order the court said, "We are not persuaded that the question presented should be reviewed by this court.”

But with high-profile actor Matthew McConaughey joining the Studio 8 film project Wershe’s case is back in the news and his lawyers are attempting to use the increased media spotlight to pressure Michigans courts into doing the right thing and releasing Wershe. His lawyers are claiming in the petition that his no-parole sentence violates Michigan’s constitution and the Eighth Amendment prohibitions on cruel and unusual punishment.

With Kym Worthy changing her tune after a leak from Showtime director Shawn Rech’s White Boy documentary was reported last August it seems that the opposition to Wershe’s release is finally and inevitably folding.

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

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.

Any Questions? Call Now To Speak to a Rehab Specialist
(844) 844-1491