Tag Archives: private investigator

Jeff Mizanskey: A Productive Member of Society Sentenced to Life in Prison for Marijuana

The following videos and post was shared with the CopBlock Network by Derrick Marshall, of Marshall & Associates  Investigations, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

This post was originally published at the Marshall & Associates Investigations blog under the title, “Jeff Mizanskey: Productive Member of Society.” The accompanying videos were posted at the “Citizens For JusticeYoutube Channel as part of a playlist that includes the interview of  Jeff Mizanskey by Derrick Marshall posted above, as well as a separate interview discussing the lack of medical care in prison that is embedded below.

Below the original post is a personal statement from Derrick Marshall explaining the background of the case, how he became involved, and his personal feelings about Jeff Mizanskey’s release.

Organizations which Jeff Mizanskey is associated with:

Jeff Mizanskey: Productive Member of Society

In 1996, Jeff Mizanskey was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for a non-violent marijuana offense. He would spend nearly two decades in the Missouri Department of Corrections, before a group of family, friends, and supporters built a media campaign that led Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to commute his sentence, allowing him to be released on parole. On September 1, 2015, Jeff was released from Jefferson City Correctional Center to a crowd of loved ones and supporters.

Derrick Marshall of Marshall & Associates Investigations acted as Jeff’s private investigator while he fought for his freedom. Now a little more than a year after his release, Derrick visits Jeff at his worksite to see how he’s adjusting to society.

In the interview Jeff talks about how much money the tax payers spent to prevent him from being a productive member of society, short comings in the criminal justice system, and the failures of the drug war that led to him serving a life sentence for marijuana. He also opens up about how, although he is still somewhat uncomfortable talking in front of cameras, he believes it is absolutely necessary to create a desperately needed change in the system. Jeff strongly encourages others who have dealt with the prison system and lived to tell about it to speak out about their experience.

Jeff is currently running a construction crew, which he uses as an opportunity to teach younger men a valuable skill they can use to provide for their family. At the time of the interview, they were in the process of pouring the foundation for a tornado-resistant, octagon home near Jeff’s hometown of Sedalia, MO. He used the opportunity to demonstrate his skills for camera crew.

The owner of the home they are building, Herb Venable, described Jeff as a blessing and expressed disdain that the state would feel it necessary to waste taxpayer’s money to incarcerate a non-violent offender for such a draconian-sentence.

Jeff wrapped up the interview by thanking all their supporters for their continued support. He also took the opportunity to stress the fact that the current system needs a serious revamping. He firmly believes that unless we stand up to the status quo, we will remain in this position. He simply asks that everyone do their part.

– Derrick Marshall

My name is Derrick Marshall and I’m a private investigator with over 25 years of experience in the industry. Sometime back I became aware that a man was serving life in prison for non-violent marijuana offenses through a petition on Change.org. The more I dug into the story, the more outraged I became. The drug war had failed this man horrendously, as well as his family and the taxpayers at large, who were left to foot the bill for his continued incarceration. The anger swelled inside of me until I made a decision; I was going to help Jeff Mizanskey obtain his freedom.

Maybe I couldn’t do much. Maybe I couldn’t go in and secure his freedom, but I could sure do my part. To get in contact with the family, I’d have to do a little detective work. I zoomed in on a picture of Jeff’s brother, Mike, and noticed a bar sign in the back. Following up on the lead, I called the establishment to discover that his brother worked there. I introduced myself and told him I was at his family’s service until Jeff’s freedom was secured.

From that point, I spent hours on the phone with the family and Jeff’s attorney helping to develop a strategy to ensure Jeff was released as soon as possible. I ran background reports and contacted media outlets to spread the word about Jeff’s egregious circumstances and the efforts that were being made to correct this miscarriage of justice.

When I heard that Missouri Governor Jay Nixon had commuted Jeff’s sentence to life with parole I had mixed emotions. I was happy that Jeff would be able to leave the confines of the cold grey walls that had held him so long. I was happy he would be able to hug and hold his family whenever he wanted. I was happy he could eat and sleep the way he wanted and enjoy life like a somewhat normal person. But he would still be on parole for the rest of his life. He would still have to pay the criminal justice system for the “privilege” of being monitored by a parole officer. He would still have to ask permission to go certain places and do certain things. He would still be subject to the obstacle course of rules, regulations, and fees that had caused the downfall of so many other parolees before.

But a year later Jeff was thriving. He was running a construction crew and actively speaking out against the system that had tried (and failed) to destroy him. He was teaching younger guys how to do construction work while providing them guidance in life. He was receiving the highest level of praise from all those around him and had graduated to the lowest level of parole possible, which meant he had proved himself to his parole officer. Jeff had come out and proved the system wrong and I couldn’t have been prouder.

I was proud of Jeff for making a way for himself in spite of the incredible odds against him. I was proud of Jeff for being a mentor to others and using his experiences to guide others to the right path. I was proud of Jeff’s family for sticking it out with him for so many years when hope seemed bleak and the opportunity for freedom seemed almost impossible. I was proud of myself for recognizing an injustice and dedicating my time towards fixing it. And I was proud that, at least in a small way, my efforts paid off.

This letter might make it seem like I’m bragging, which in a way I am, but there’s a deeper goal behind it. The private investigation industry is cutthroat. A lot of PI’s are trying to outdo other PIs. One-up them if you will. Many times these competitions have negative implications. Businesses and reputations suffers as two egos battle it out. Maybe for once, the next time somebody tries to one-up me, they will succeed…

Succeed in freeing a man from unjust circumstances brought about by a criminal justice system in need of serious repair. Succeed in returning a father to his children, a husband to his wife, and a son to his parents. Succeed in helping turn someone society has been told to forget back into a productive member of society. For once, I hoped my competition would outdo me, and the world would be a little better place because of it.

Bullied by Police Over a Facebook Post in Maine

The content included within this post was received anonymously via the CopBlock.org Submissions page.

Date of Incident: November 23,2015
Officers Involved: Col. Robert Williams, Lt. Scott Ireland, Det. David Pelletier
Department Involved: Maine State Police
Contact Number: (207) 626-3811

In a clear bullying tactic by Col. Robert Williams of the Maine State Police, I was told to delete a Facebook post or expect criminal charges. The Facebook Post in question was a picture of two men who I thought appeared to have similar features. The post read “Corrupt Maine Trooper Lt. Scott Ireland & corrupt Illinois police officer Lt. Joe Giniewicz. They could be twins @MEStatePolice”. It included pictures of both men. This is just the latest chapter in a nearly five year nightmare.

It all started in 2011 when I came to Maine to do training with a sub-contractor. I obtained video footage of a man committing insurance fraud. When the state police found out about this, they charged me with working in Maine without a valid PI license. After I won in court and Justice Jeffrey Hjelm dismissed the charges before trial, the state police retaliated against me by denying my application for Private Investigator. They also contacted my largest client and told them there was an ‘ongoing investigation’ into me. This caused my client to stop using my services and was an obvious and clear retaliation by Det. David Pelletier and his commander Lt. Scott Ireland.

I could not believe that men who swore an oath to uphold the constitution would be so willing to ignore it. My Constitutional and human rights of due process and presumption of innocence were so clearly violated that even a toddler could see it. So I wrote an article and put together a YouTube video detailing my experience. After publishing the article and video online, I received messages and phone calls from five other PI’s who said they did the same thing to them. Only one was willing to go public with his story, the others feared retaliation by the state police. Based on my experience, they had good reason to fear the state police. I wrote an article about what happened to the others and then more people started coming forward telling of horror stories of treatment by Maine State Police. Not all of the stories were about Det. Pelletier and Lt. Scott Ireland, however enough were for me to reasonably conclude they were ‘bad apples’.

As I started to look more closely into Lt. Scott Ireland and Det. David Pelletier, I uncovered a connection between Lt. Ireland and a Maine business called Merrills Investigations. The owner of this business, Michael Harrington, was on a private investigation oversight board with Lt. Ireland. I could not believe that a Maine private investigator was the chairperson of an oversight board that regulates Maine private investigators. That is clear conflict of interest! However based on conversations with the other victims, I came to the realization that Lt. Scott Ireland may be filing false charges against private investigators that compete with Merrills Investigations. That is a clear case of government corruption and so I again wrote an article with my findings. The case was made that Lt. Scott Ireland and Det. David Pelletier were corrupt.

I wrote my findings in an article and posted in online. I felt it was my duty to warn others about these corrupt officers. People contacted me and told me stories about how Lt. Ireland has a short fuse. I heard that Det. Pelletier is often seen at liquor stores. I found videos online of Maine State Police intimidating people and so much more. This only gave me resolve to warn people about these corrupt officers and when I saw the uncanny resemblance between corrupt officer Joe Gliniewicz and corrupt Lt. Scott Ireland, I posted it. Officer Gliniewicz committed suicide this summer and staged it to look like he was shot on the job. After his plot was uncovered, it was learned that he and his family were embezzling money among other things. In some ways Officer Gliniewicz crime was child play compared to what Lt Ireland has done to me and others. For example, the client that I lost due to him was worth over $200,000 in revenue to my business. So where is that revenue going now? I believe it’s all going to Lt. Irelands friend Michael Harrington of Merrills Investigations.

After I wrote the article detailing my findings, I was sent an intimidating letter from a lawyer representing Merrills Investigations and Michael Harrington. It told me to delete my online posts or face a lawsuit. I did not delete anything and posted the letter online. I then wrote an article about receiving the letter and detailed how Merrills Investigation was under investigation by the Maine Department of Labor, however after a meeting between Maine Gov. Paul LePage and Michael Harrington, the investigation ended without explanation. The Maine Department of Labor confirmed this to me in a freedom of Information request. The FOIA request also uncovered a sixteen year relationship between the State of Maine and Merrills Investigation. I also strongly believe the threatening letter was sent at the request of Lt. Scott Ireland.

I contacted the Maine Attorney General Janet Mills to inform her about the constitutional violations by Lt. Scott Ireland and Det. David Pelletier. I received a response from Brian MacMaster from the AG’s office. He informed me that he was not going to investigate my complaint. I was so frustrated and confused by this, until I learned that Brian MacMaster is friends with Det. Pelletier, Lt. Ireland AND Michael Harrington. In fact Mr. MacMaster and Mr. Harrington have lake houses on the same lake. I told AG Janet Mills about this and asked why my complaint was assigned to someone who is friends with the very officers I was complaining about. I have not received a response.

I filed an internal affairs complaint with Lt. Anna Love of Maine state police. I was trying to get the other victims to come forward to her. They were skeptical that she would be fair. So I asked her to send me a list of all troopers that she investigated and resulted in a criminal charge. I began to become suspicious of her when she refused to answer my question. I have since concluded that she has never charged a trooper with a crime. Her ‘internal investigation’ focused 100% on reinvestigating me, contacting my clients and several lengthy interviews with me. In the second interview it became clear to me that she was on the troopers side. I learned that Lt. Love is the daughter of a State Trooper and is married to a state trooper. That means she grew up idolizing troopers and has no place in the internal investigations department. However she did tell me, while trying to defend Lt Ireland and Det. Pelletier, they contacted my client based on instruction from the AG’s office. Since the AG’s office was not involved in my case when my client was contacted, that was a clear lie. Making Lt Scott Ireland and Det. David Pelletier dishonest as well as corrupt.

I then asked for my complaint to go before a citizen complaint review committee. They refused this request and informed me there is no such committee in Maine. That means there is absolutely zero citizen oversight of the Maine state police. This may explain why there are corrupt troopers employed there! I then submitted a freedom of information request and was told it would cost hundreds of dollars, would take over 10 months and most pages will be fully redacted. I asked for a copy of my internal affairs investigation as well as all complaints against Lt. Ireland’s department. They flat out refused to give me anything pertaining to the internal affairs investigation. What are they hiding?

Because I posted my story online, I have been contacted by 19 people thus far telling me their stories about corruption at the Maine State Police. Whenever I repost my story more people are warned about the clear constitutional and civil violations by Lt. Ireland and Det. Pelletier. I had an exchange in the comment section of one of my post’s where a man told me to ‘let it go’. My response; “I wish I could, but people need to know about this bad apple officer and be warned! How many more victims will it take before something happens? Lt. Scott Ireland is corrupt and evil and he is a ‘powder keg’ who remains a danger to the public. If I ‘let it go’ and he kills someone, I’ll never be able to live with myself.”

Yesterday I received a ‘Notice’ and was told to delete my post about Lt. Scott Ireland or I will be charged with harassment under Maine law. This was clearly meant to be a threatening letter and constitutes a clear violation of First Amendment Constitutional rights and my human rights under Article 19 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. Several months ago I received an email telling me the Maine state police followed me on twitter. I have learned they are monitoring my Facebook account. They are clearly not happy that I have exposed a few of their troopers. My only intent in telling my story and posting this online, is to warn others about the corruption at Maine state police. I do not believe that all police are bad, in fact I think the majority do an amazing job under very difficult circumstances. However the few bad apples in Maine appear to be infecting their chief, Col. Robert Williams. How many more victims need to come forward before something is done?

Note: If I am killed, Lt. Scott Ireland and or Det. David Pelletier were most likely involved.