‘White Boy Rick’ petitions for resentencing again
Convicted Detroit drug dealer Richard “White Boy Rick” Wershe Jr. again is requesting his life sentence imposed in 1988 be reconsidered.
In a petition filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, attorney Paul C. Louisell requested that the court “reverse the orders of the Michigan Court of Appeals and Supreme Court and remand the matter to trial court for immediate resentencing.”
It is the latest attempt Wershe, 46, has made for resentencing. His petition to federal court calls his mandatory life sentence without parole unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment’s and the Michigan Constitution’s prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment. The petition also asserts that parole proceedings haven’t “taken into consideration petitioner’s youthfulness at the time of his offense or his demonstrated rehabilitation, growth and maturity.”
His attorney has said Wershe has been in prison close to three decades on a so-called “lifer” criminal drug law that has since been abolished by the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2010, the High Court abolished lifer laws for juveniles, calling them “cruel and unusual punishment.”
In June, Wershe was denied an opportunity to be resentenced following a Michigan Supreme Court ruling. At the time, justices wrote they were “not persuaded that the question should be reviewed by this court.”
In September 2015, the Michigan Court of Appeals reversed a Wayne County Circuit Judge’s decision granting Wershe a chance to be resentenced.
Wershe was 17 when he received a life sentence without parole for possession to deliver more than 650 grams of a controlled substance. That sentence was later amended to life with the possibility of parole.
Wershe’s attorneys have requested that their client be resentenced, arguing that under new sentencing guidelines, he would have received 1-3 years in prison.
Sporting a pageboy haircut, Wershe dealt drugs on the city’s east side, according to police. He allegedly joined the drug trade at age 14, but attorneys say that Wershe was working as an informant for the federal government and Detroit police.
Wershe was denied parole in 2003, 2007 and 2012. His next Parole Board hearing is set for December 2017.