Contact: Rabiah Burks
Eric Patrick Wright Didn’t Get Justice—and He’s Not Alone
WASHINGTON, DC – FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Minimums) President Kevin Ring responded to a Florida appeals court’s decision yesterday to uphold Eric Patrick Wright’s 20-year mandatory minimum prison sentence. Wright fired a gun at the ground when an ex-girlfriend barged into his house. Judge James R. Wolf of the 1st District Court of Appeals noted that Wright would not be subject to the mandatory sentence if he committed the same offense today, thanks to the Florida legislature’s unanimous vote last year to remove aggravated assault from the list of offenses that trigger mandatory sentences under the state’s 10-20-Life gun sentencing law.
Judge Wolf urged Wright to apply for executive clemency, but under rules adopted in 2011 he is ineligible to apply until he has served 10 years.
In response to the decision, Ring said the following:
FAMM is proud of our effort last year to remove aggravated assault from Florida’s 10-20-Life law. Unfortunately, this necessary reform does not yet apply to cases resolved before the change, so we continue to see absurd, excessive sentences like Wright’s.
Sadly, Wright is not alone. Before last year’s reform passed, many others had received lengthy mandatory sentences that far exceeded the severity of their crimes. In February 2016, Florida’s Department of Corrections found 169 inmates serving 20-year sentences for aggravated assault. One of those, Erik Weyant, has already served 10 years for a crime in which no one was hurt.
Wright, Weyant, and others like them committed crimes and deserve to be held accountable. But mandating a 20-year sentence in cases like these makes a mockery of the idea that the time should fit the crime. FAMM is committed to fighting until laws change so that these excessive sentences can be reviewed and corrected.
If you are a journalist covering this issue, please contact Rabiah Burks at 202-822-6700 or firstname.lastname@example.org to request an interview or more information.
FAMM, which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, promotes commonsense sentencing and prison policies that increase public safety.
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