Per council newcomer Ken Davis’ wish, a motion became one of the first orders of business at Thursday’s meeting following the swear-in. It pertained to Florida Keys resident Richard “Dickie” Lynn, who’s serving a life sentence in federal prison for smuggling cocaine almost 30 years ago.
Davis, a retired DEA agent, said he didn’t expect to bring the motion regarding a letter of support urging clemency for Lynn as a councilman. He approached council before the election in hopes members would address it then.
Before getting into Lynn’s clemency case, Davis said he conducted an investigation into the crime, circumstances and people involved. In his statements to council and the public Thursday, Davis noted that Lynn’s sentencing was unjust when looking at the disparity of the sentencing. Of the 21 in prison for their role in the smuggling, Davis said Lynn received life in prison “seven times over without parole.”
“The only one close, he was an enforcer and he got 17,” Davis said.
In 1989, Lynn was charged with conspiring with others to import and distribute marijuana and cocaine into Alabama. He was offered a plea agreement for a life sentence by Jeff Sessions, then U.S attorney. Lynn elected to go to trial and was found guilty of seven of 17 counts. It resulted in a sentence of life imprisonment.
Months following his sentencing in December 1989, Lynn planned an escape. In a letter he wrote to the President Donald Trump earlier this summer, he notes that being separated from family for life factored into his attempt to escape an Alabama prison. Upon his capture months later, Lynn lost his right to appeal his sentence as a result.
Following a lengthy discussion and public members voicing support, council voted 4-1 to send a letter from the village of Islamorada to the president’s desk supporting clemency. At 64 years of age, and having served close to 30 years in prison, Davis said Lynn isn’t in good health.
“We want our resident back. We will help him,” Davis said. “It would mean a great deal.
Councilman Jim Mooney, who grew up with Lynn, said he’s not a violent person. Mooney said Lynn deserves to be out.
“It’s humanitarian. It’s deserving,” Mooney said. “He’s served his time.”
Voting ‘no’ was Councilwoman Cheryl Meads, who voiced her concern over recidivism.
“It doesn’t mean that I wish him any harm,” she said.
Davis said the DEA and other federal agents involved in Lynn’s arrest and prosecution wrote letters and submitted affidavits calling for clemency. A co-defendant tried with Lynn had his case reversed and remanded for prosecutorial misconducts and improper vouching. Davis said the motion is about doing what’s “just and what is passionate.”
“The injustice screams,” he said.
Vice Mayor Mike Forster was somewhat conflicted whether the matter was village business, but he went on to support the motion. Since the letter’s coming from the village, Mayor Deb Gillis said it’s their business.
“We’re the head of the organization that’s here,” Gillis said. “That’s how I see it to be our business.”