Support Local Journalism. Donate to Detroit Metro Times.

Monday, February 17, 2020

He sold pot, and now he's serving up 60 years in prison. Gov. Whitmer may be his only hope.

Posted By on Mon, Feb 17, 2020 at 3:33 PM

click to enlarge Michael Thompson was sentenced to up to 60 years in prison. - MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
  • Michigan Department of Corrections
  • Michael Thompson was sentenced to up to 60 years in prison.

Michael Thompson worries he’s going to die behind bars.

In 1996, he was sentenced to up to 60 years in prison.

He’s not a murderer, rapist or terrorist. He sold 3 pounds of marijuana to an undercover informant in a state where recreational marijuana is now legal.

The 68-year-old is not eligible for parole until he’s in his late 80s.

"I can't die in here," Thompson, of Flint, told WNEM-TV in a phone interview from Muskegon Correctional Facility. "For what? Some marijuana and some guns in a locked closet?"

After Gov. Rick Snyder denied Thompson’s request for clemency two years ago, a movement called “Free Michael Thompson” has gained steam. Central to the movement is a website where more than 21,000 people have sent a letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, urging her to set Thompson free.

“His mother, his father and his only son died while he was in prison,” the site reads. “And recreational marijuana has been legalized in Michigan. Now we’re going to fight to get Michael free. We can do it. We must.”

Whitmer was unavailable for comment Monday.

When Thomspon was arrested, police found several guns in a locked closet at his home. Although he was not armed when he sold the pot, prosecutors charged him with possession of a firearm while committing a felony. And since he had prior convictions — all of them nonviolent and involving drugs — Thompson was hit with Michigan’s Habitual Offender Law, which dramatically increased his sentence.

"Michael's house had no drugs, no drug money, but it had a number of guns," Thompson’s attorney Kimberly Corral said. "A lot of them were antique guns in a locked closet."

Thompson has lost a lot in the nearly 25 years he’s been in prison.

“I've lost my only son. He was my best friend. And I loved him,” he said. “My favorite nephew. I lost my mother and my father. All these losses for what? I'm in here and i didn't kill anyone."

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

We’re keeping you informed…
...and it’s what we love to do. From local politics and culture to national news that hits close to home, Metro Times has been keeping Detroit informed for years.

It’s never been more important to support local news sources. A free press means accountability and a well-informed public, and we want to keep our unique and independent reporting available for many, many years to come.

If quality journalism is important to you, please consider a donation to Metro Times. Every reader contribution is valuable and so appreciated, and goes directly to support our coverage of critical issues and neighborhood culture. Thank you.

Read the Digital Print Issue

April 8, 2020


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2020 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation