Michael and family

Michael and family


Friday, April 4, 2014


Michael Edwards desperately needs our help!

On October 12th, 1993, Michael Edwards was arrested for selling cocaine on 2 separate occasions to his disgruntled ex-girlfriend, Rene Cianci, in order to support his drug addiction. Unbeknown to Michael, in retaliation of his break-up from her, Rene had contacted a detective she knew from one of her prior arrests. She offered to be an informant to set Michael up in a drug transaction. Thereby, this set the ball in motion to get him arrested and, ultimately, sent to prison.  
As a teenager, Michael started using drugs in an attempt to fill a void in his life most likely caused by the untimely death of his father, Dr. William R. Edwards, Jr. Throughout the following years, Michael was convicted of a few minor drug-related crimes consequential of what he had become, a cocaine addict. Nevertheless, the courts have NEVER sentenced him to a drug treatment program.
On the day of Michael’s trial in March 1994,  Assistant State Attorney Andrew Swett offered Michael 15 years in prison to plead guilty. The prosecutor indicated if he didn't take the plea and proceeded with the jury trial, he would ask Judge Rosman to sentence Michael to 60 years as a habitual offender if he were found guilty.

Michael opted for the jury trial because Rene went to Michael’s attorney and swore under oath in an affidavit that Michael was not the one who actually sold her the cocaine, thereby, recanting her original story. In addition, she told Michael and others she was not going to testify. Subsequently, Michael refused the plea and exercised his right to a trial. Unfortunately, he was found guilty and  Mr. Swett asked Judge Rosman to sentence Michael to a total of 60 years for his sales convictions.

Almost thirteen years later, on 9/6/2006, Judge Rosman held a hearing concerning a motion to mitigate Michael’s sentence, filed by Michael’s nephew, Attorney Brian Edwards. After hearing testimony from over two dozen supporters, including retired State Attorney Joseph D’Alessandro, whose office prosecuted Michael’s case, Judge Rosman felt he did not have jurisdiction to reduce Michael’s sentence, even though he was deeply moved by the testimony.
At this 9/6/2006 hearing, Assistant State Attorney Cynthia Ross recommended that Michael try to get his sentence reduced through the clemency process and said that “this was one of the most uplifting and saddening days to stand in court on behalf of the state. Uplifting because this individual Michael Edwards has a family and community with enormous support and it would appear has made a difference and changed his life. That doesn't happen often and it is remarkable to see.”
In response to a letter from Michael’s attorney, Ms. Ross wrote that her office will “allow the clemency board to rule as it deems appropriate” instead of opposing clemency.
Currently, we have been trying to raise enough money to get Michael re-sentenced through the courts via the Michael Edwards Freedom Fund website, www.michaeledwardsfreedomfund.com. Unfortunately, we have been unsuccessful in acquiring the substantial amount requested by an attorney for this timely endeavor.  Consequently, Michael's only hope of being released from prison before he is 70 years old is by convincing Governor Rick Scott and two Cabinet members to commute his sentence by way of Executive Clemency.

In October 2013, Attorney Baya Harrison III filed a Request for Review for Commutation of Sentence for Michael. In order to get Michael's sentence commuted, we must convince Governor Scott and two Cabinet members to reduce his extremely harsh and excessive sentence to time served. His 60-year sentence far exceeds any present sentencing guidelines for similar non-violent drug offenses.

It is obvious to all who know Michael that he has taken full responsibility for his past mistakes and is remorseful for all of the emotional trauma he has caused his family and friends. He is serious about rebuilding his life in a positive way once he is released from prison and is dedicated to his moral obligations to society. The earnest support from his family and friends will advocate a successful transition from prison. In addition, Michael has had an exemplary record while incarcerated, has attended over 20 educational and self-betterment programs, and has studied over a 100 books on business management, marketing and sales, pool and spa construction, information technology, investing in stocks and real estate, and many others in preparation for his release.  

NOW, Michael’s only hope is for Governor Scott and two Cabinet members to  commute his unprecedented sentence UNLESS we receive substantial donations to hire an attorney. Any reasonable person would agree that the 20 years Michael has spent in prison is more than enough punishment for his non-violent drug offenses. It is hard to even imagine that if Michael is not granted this clemency, he will have to serve at least another 20 years in prison...

PLEASE take a moment to help correct this grave injustice to Michael Edwards by contacting the Governor and Cabinet members.

Lastly, any words of encouragement, letters and pictures are always greatly appreciated. More importantly, if you or a loved-one have drug or alcohol problems, please write Michael and provide your return address so he can share with you how he successfully overcame his addictions and help you start the recovery and healing process.

Michael Edwards, 717273

P.O. Box 7171
South Bay, FL  33493-7171


Saturday, August 1, 2009

Clemency for Michael Edwards

I've gotten to know Michael Edwards over the years through his mother, his sister and his son Kingsley. While prison in many ways may have saved Michael's life, enough is enough! His sentence, by almost anyone's measure, is way over the top. Michael has served 17 years and he is a changed man. He is caught in a legal sentencing web from which the only way out is clemency. Keeping him in prison is an option that does not serve Michael, his family, and certainly not society. We all read everyday stories of people who commit far worse crimes than Michael being given far less severe sentences. Michael's family need him in their lives and we, as citizens, need to insist that lives are not wasted in our prison system as they are now with Michael. This is real, this is the life of a real person that we all can help!

Jeff Good