Skip to main content

Pain Patients: Richard Paey Loses Appeal, Wheelchair-Bound Man to Remain in Prison

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #464)
Politics & Advocacy

Richard Paey, the Florida pain patient serving a 25-year sentence as a drug dealer after being convicted of fraudulently obtaining pain medications, will remain in prison after losing an appeal Wednesday. Florida's 2nd District Court of Appeal upheld his conviction and sentence on a 2-1 vote.

But in a highly unusual act, the appeals court offered some sympathy and advice. Paey should seek a commutation of his sentence from the governor, the court suggested. "Mr Paey's argument about his sentence does not fall on deaf ears," wrote Judge Douglas Wallace, "but it falls on the wrong ears."

While the two judge majority in the case was sympathetic but said its hands were tied, the lone dissenter on the bench, Associate Judge James Seals, disagreed. In a blistering dissent, Seals made a multi-point case that Paey's mandatory minimum sentence was both "cruel and unusual" and absurd in light of the shorter sentences given for many real crimes. (Click here to read an excerpt.)

Paey who was severely injured in an automobile accident in the 1980s, was arrested by the DEA and the Pasco County Sheriff's Office after buying more than 1,200 pain pills with fake prescriptions. Although agents watched Paey roll up to pharmacies in his wheelchair to fill the prescriptions, he was charged as a drug dealer under a Florida law that says anyone possessing more than an ounce is a dealer. Paey rejected a plea bargain before he was tried, saying it was against his principles.

While other appeals remain open to Paey, his attorney, John Flannery II, told the St. Petersburg Times he would take the appeals court up on its suggestion. Flannery filed a commutation petition Wednesday. It's unlikely that outgoing Gov. Jeb Bush will act on it before his term ends as year's end, but Flannery said he wanted to start the process for Governor-elect Charlie Crist.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

I appreciate DRCNet covering the crises on under treatment of pain. Opiates are effective and safe when used properly. Indeed, isn't this true with most anything in life ?

The so-called "danger's" of opiates is "greatly" exagerated. Editorial boards of newspapers are unethical for demonizing opiates and for not investigating this matter honestly.


Sat, 12/09/2006 - 8:55pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I would like to know over how long a period of time were these 1200 pain pills bought. Also about the prescription itself. If they were really forged couldn't the powers that be match the signature of the doctor against the signature on the scrip? Something just doen't seem right from both sides of this issue. I have researched and read other articles and they are no clearer than the above one. Is there some other place that I can be pointed to and will be able to arrive at a better written article than what I am seeing now?

Sun, 12/10/2006 - 3:30pm Permalink

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.