DETROIT - The Local 4 Defenders are following two new developments in the "White Boy" Rick Wershe case, one in Michigan and one in Florida.
An extradition hearing will be held pending Wershe's upcoming release from Michigan prison after nearly 30 years.
The process is starting to move quickly in Wershe's case. First up is an extradition hearing in Michigan. If he has to go to Florida at all, he can be released in Michigan and then go to Florida to turn himself in.
Wershe is a man in limbo with courts ready to take action in Florida and Michigan. During the extradition hearing in Michigan, Florida must prove it has the right to transport Wershe from the Michigan prison to a Florida prison for his role in a car theft ring while behind bars.
Local 4 legal expert Neil Rockind said because Wershe is expected to waive his right to extradition and willingly go to Florida, it will be a quick hearing with little drama.
"The hearing itself will take place in front of a judge," Rockind said. "It will be extremely brief. The judge will get presented some documents that show that Florida wants him, and that Michigan and Florida are both part of this compact, and that Rick Wershe is who they say he is."
On Monday in Martin County, Florida, attorney Wayne Richter announced that he will represent Wershe on a request for a furlough hearing, which would ask Florida to save the time and cost of coming to Michigan to pick up Wershe and allow him to turn himself in. It would give Wershe a small amount of time to visit with his family before being admitted into the Florida Department of Corrections.
"They're going to try to make a plea that Florida does not have to, it is not obligated to spend the money and go get him," Rockind said.
Wershe is hoping to convince Florida to forgive his entire sentence, arguing his 29 years behind bars for a juvenile drug offense is more than enough time for both his offenses. But that fight will only come after the extradition hearing in Michigan.
"I just want to get down there and get it over with," Wershe said. "If I have to go, I have to go. I'm not going to avoid it. I just want to get started."
There's no set date or location for the extradition hearing. It could take place up north, where Wershe is in prison, or in Detroit, where he committed his drug offense. It will happen soon, because right now, Michigan is paying to house Wershe.
After the hearing, Florida taxpayers will pick up the bill.
If Wershe is allowed to turn himself in, that would be his first taste of freedom in almost three decades.
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