Todd Hannigan - Florida
Sentence: 15 years
Offense: Trafficking between 14 to 28 grams of hydrocodone
Priors: Robbery no gun/deadly weapon, traffic in stolen property (1992); two counts grand theft motor vehicle (1998, 1999); burglary and petit theft (2003)
Year sentenced: 2010
Age at sentencing: 42
Projected release date: Oct. 28, 2024
After years of struggling with addiction and several stints behind bars, Todd tried to end his life in November 2009. He grabbed a handful of his mother’s prescription Vicodin pills and walked to a nearby park with a six-pack of beer and the pills. He began swallowing the pills, working up the nerve to take the lethal dose. Several people in the park witnessed what Todd was doing and called the police. Officers came to the park and arrested Todd for possessing an open container of alcohol. They also found the 31 remaining Vicodin pills. Todd was arrested and charged with trafficking 22 grams of hydrocodone. He took his case to trial and was found guilty.
Florida law requires a 15-year prison sentence for trafficking between 14-28 grams of hydrocodone. At Todd’s sentencing, Judge Timothy Shea balked at the mandatory minimum he was forced to impose:
"I do believe this is an inappropriate sentence for you. I really believe that. But there are restraints placed on my ability to stray from the statutory framework for sentencing…Mr. Hannigan, if there should be some change in the legislative framework that would result in [your] early release…no one would be happier than I.
The legislature has…decided to transfer a significant amount [of what] once was judicial discretion to the prosecutorial arm of this state. There’s nothing I can do about that. There’s nothing I can do about that at all…under this set of circumstances, this Court does nothing more than perform an administerial function. I sign the papers. I’m on autopilot."
Todd takes full responsibility for possessing the pills but says he had no intention to sell them. Unless Florida law changes or he receives clemency, Todd Hannigan will stay behind bars until 2024.
To read the local media's coverage of Todd's case, click here and here.