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Lawyer For 'White Boy Rick' Outraged Governor Rejected Request To Commute Life Sentence

DETROIT (WWJ) - "White Boy Rick" will stay behind bars, at least for now. Gov. Rick Snyder last week rejected a request to commute the sentence of former teenage Detroit drug dealer, Richard Wershe.

His attorney, Ralph Musilli, says he's outraged.

Musilli told WWJ's Sandra McNeill he only asked for commutation after the parole board disregarded the law in his client's case when they denied his parole years ago.

"They gave him no reason for the denial, they just denied him," Musilli said. "The statue says if you're gonna deny a man parole you have to give him the reasons for it, and you have to tell him what he has to accomplish in order to achieve parole."

Since 2003, Musilli said, the board has refused to give his client a parole hearing.

Musilli says Wershe, now in his 40s, has served 28 years — plenty long enough for a nonviolent crime.

"And the only reason he's there is because he worked with the police... They recruited him as a Junior High School student. Otherwise, there's no reason to believe that he would ever have been involved in the drug trade," Musilli said. "But here he is; he helped them, and how did they help him? He's buried. "

["White Boy Rick" Tried To Help Kwame Kilpatrick]

According to a letter received by Musilli, Snyder has put Wershe's fate back in the hands of the Parole Board; although whether the governor even considered the request is unclear.

"I think there was business as usual. I don't even that he even is aware of the fact that that's what ran across his desk," Musilli said. "He's a busy man."

Wershe's story made headlines around the world when he infiltrated local drug gangs at the tender age of 13 — at the request of Detroit police and FBI agents — and turned in evidence that convicted 14 dealers and gangsters, including some of the biggest drug dealers in Detroit history.

Musilli claims that, as a direct result of Wershe's help, the FBI was able to infiltrate a gang of Detroit police officers that was transporting drugs from the Wayne County Airport to the streets of the city's east side.

The then-baby-faced teen was sentenced to mandatory life prison under the state's strict cocaine dealing laws.  The Michigan constitution was later amended to lighten up sentences for nonviolent offenders.

Wershe's next hearing is scheduled for 2017.

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