Richard DeLisi, sentenced to three consecutive 30-year terms, or 90 years, for a marijuana importation conviction in 1989, will remain incarcerated. Judge Michael E. Raiden denied a motion requesting a review of his sentence last week. DeLisi has spent the past 26 years behind bars for a nonviolent offense that has a normal guideline sentence range of 12 to 17 years.
Due to the unusual length and nature of DeLisi's sentence, the Human Solution International, an, um, grassroots organization, started the DeLisi Project in hope of bringing more public awareness to DeLisi's story. It will hopefully help the DeLisi family collect the 2,500 signatures needed to present before the Florida Board of Executive Clemency, so it could reconsider his nearly three decades of incarceration. The signatures were collected in no time, but the motion was denied, and now DeLisi remains behind bars for the foreseeable future.
DeLisi was arrested in 1988 when his family was found to be running a successful marijuana importation and auto body repair business. While DeLisi has been in prison, his father, wife, and son have passed away. DeLisi's youngest daughter was 3 years old at the time of his arrest; now she brings her own children to visit their grandfather in prison.
DeLisi is not eligible for parole until he is 77 years old, and supporters of his cause believe if he is not released soon he could die in prison.
Though he is 67 years of age, in poor health, and has an impeccable prison record, Richard is still in prison. This has cost the taxpayers money and wasted his life for a victimless, nonviolent crime.
During this lengthy prison term, DeLisi has logged thousands of hours in both spiritual and secular betterment classes, completing each with high commendations. He continues to struggle with dyslexia, a major factor in his transgressions of the past. He has taught himself to read and to write, things we take for granted... things he could not do until he was well into his forties.
A New Year's Eve vigil to be held outside the South Bay Correctional facility where DeLisi is jailed is being organized is hopes of bringing continued attention to his plight. THSI is asking anyone who can be at this vigil to contact them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. THSI is also asking that anyone looking to help make a call to Gov. Rick Scott at 850-717-9337, asking him to step in and review this case.