This fundraiser is for clemency attorney fees for Nick Lucanegro a 62 year old man serving a 20 year sentence in Florida. We believe he was unjustly charged and imprisoned following a 1 day trial.
This fundraiser is for Nick Lucanegro, a now 62 year old man who is serving a 20 year jail sentence in a Florida prison. Even before his conviction, Nick suffered from multiple medical issues, but since his incarceration, his pain has increased and his mobility is even more limited. Nick cannot eat his meals in the mess hall because his mobility using a walker is such that he would never make it there on time.
The worst part of Nick’s nightmare is that on a daily basis, he is faced with the hopelessness that comes with having to serve a very long sentence which is senseless, thanks to Florida’s 10-20-Life law.
In 2007, an accidental discharge of Nick’s service weapon, which occurred when he was trying to disarm his (then) girlfriend, was the basis for the local prosecutor charging Nick under the 10-20-Life law. At that time, the law required a judge to sentence anyone convicted of “aggravated assault” where a firearm was discharged to 20 years ail. Period. No questions asked. No allowance made for the actual circumstances. No judicial discretion. Although the law was changed last year to remove “aggravated assault” from the felonies subject to this mandatory minimum sentence, this change of law has not - and will not - benefit Nick in his predicament. Why? Because the legislature did not make the change of law retroactive.
Nick's release date is in October, 2030. The only way he can get out any earlier is if the Governor of Florida and the Clemency Board grant him a commutation of sentence through the clemency process.
This why we are asking you to donate. Nick's clemency petition will have to be put together by a clemency attorney, and the attorney charges a fee that neither Nick nor his family can afford. Nick's savings have been eaten up by attorneys' fees for the original trial, the first appeal, and the 3.850 appeal (all of which were unsuccessful.)
Knowing our Nick is in prison is shocking to us. We just cannot believe the progression of events that led to his incarceration. First, we can't believe that this could happen to a guy like Nick. Second, we can't believe that there are hundreds of others like him, victims of Florida's 10-20-Life law, which was enacted with serious criminals in mind, but which has been applied to people who are anything but that.
We firmly believe that Nick was unjustly charged to begin with, and we are still shaking our heads as to why the State Attorney's office would have thrown the charges at him that they did, given the circumstances surrounding his arrest, and given the "victim's" story, with its many statements that defy logic and common sense. It is an uncontroverted fact that the officer who responded to the scene reported that there were no injuries to Nick’s accuser.
The State Attorney's office knew that a conviction for "aggravated assault with a deadly weapon" carried a 20 year mandatory minimum jail sentence. We are frustrated and saddened by the prosecutors' choices and amazed that Nick was ever convicted . . . proving, once again, that in Florida, anything is possible. Following a one day trial, Nick was convicted of two separate felony charges: 1. Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (requiring a 20 year mandatory minimum jail sentence). 2. Shooting within a dwelling.
That's right, a one day trial put a man away for twenty years. The jury did not convict him of battery (domestic violence) which was the third charge brought by the prosecution.
The State Attorney had initially offered Nick a plea deal, but that deal involved a three year jail term, and Nick (a principled man who knew that he had done nothing wrong) rejected the offer. He felt that since he had only tried to defend himself from being shot, the jury would see through the falsity of the "victim's" allegations and acquit him. He knew that his then-girlfriend was taking medication for a mental health issue, because she had told him. He knew that she had alcohol in her system that fateful night. And he knew that she had turned on him, in his own house, with his own weapon.
You can read more about the incident on the website we have created for Nick: www.freedomfornick.org
The Nick we know is a gentle, giving person with a large circle of friends. He was the first person to help out anyone in a bind. He is an animal lover. Our friend is the hapless victim of a he said/she said scenario in which she was scared for her own future and therefore hid the truth about her own actions by pointing the finger at him.
Please help us give Nick some good news - that we will be able to pay an attorney for his clemency effort. God Bless.
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