An 84-year-old man halfway through a 30-year prison sentence is among 21 people convicted for prescription pill drug-trafficking offenses that the Broward State Attorney's Office is recommending be released or have their terms reduced.
Broward prosecutors are preparing and filing paperwork recommending the reduced sentences after the state legislature reduced the minimum mandatory prison sentences for drug trafficking offenses for oxycodone and hydrocodone, the office said Thursday.
The changes made to the law mean that some people are serving longer periods of incarceration for offenses that would now yield lesser penalties.
The state attorney's office has been reviewing the cases of people who are serving terms of 15, 25 and 30 years in prison for the offenses, and is seeking reduced sentences for 21 people.
"If accepted by the court, the punishments would be reduced to prison terms that range from three years and nine months to 15 years, depending on the circumstances of the case and any prior criminal history," the state attorney's office said in a statement. "With credit for the time already served, it is anticipated that most of the affected individuals will be released immediately."
Among those convicted is 84-year-old Herbert Rappaport, who records show was sentenced to 30 years in state prison in 2008. Rappaport's scheduled release date was March 1, 2036, when he would be 100 years old, but he would be elligible for immediate release, the state attorney's office said.
"Although these prior sentences remain lawful under the law that existed at the time they were convicted, the legislature has decided to treat new offenders differently," Broward Chief Assistant State Attorney Jeff Marcus said. "Therefore, we believe that it was an issue of fundamental fairness to initiate a review of these cases and reduce the sentences when appropriate."