Mark O'Hara left jail without handcuffs Wednesday, two years after he went to prison and one week since an appeals court ordered him a new trial.
He was serving a 25-year sentence for having 58 Vicodin pills in his bread truck. Jurors weren't told that it is legal to possess the drug with a prescription, which he had. . . .
[T]he 2nd District Court of Appeal ruling about his case . . . faulted prosecutors' claims that Florida statutes do not allow a "prescription defense" in drug trafficking cases. Using words like "absurd" and "ridiculous," three appellate judges said the state's position would make patients with valid prescriptions criminals as soon as they left the drugstore.
I can't imagine what kind of train wreck caused this case. Apparently, the trial judge was too stupid to realize that the legal argument of the prosecution was full of it.
Of course, as usual, the prosecutors didn't care in the least about justice in this case or a sensible interpetation of the statutes. They just tried to get a conviction. The fact that the state of Florida tried to defend this conviction on appeal is equally appalling, and a disgrace to that state's government.
He sold two condos, his car and his bread business to pay for the appeal. But the state took the proceeds, according to family friend Eric Mastro, to pay toward the $500,000 fine that came with his conviction.
This isn't the only case of its kind in Florida (also here) either:
Richard Paey, a Pasco man who suffers debilitating back pain from an auto accident and botched surgery, is also serving 25 years for possessing larger quantities of prescription pain killers.
Hat Tip to Thinking Outside the Cage.