Drugs

Judge holding hearing in bid to ease sentence of Detroit drug trafficker in prison since '80s

  • Rick Wershe Jr. is escorted into a courtroom at Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit. Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. Wershe, a major Detroit-area drug trafficker known as "White Boy Rick" and who has spent nearly 30 years in prison, could soon be released after a judge ordered a resentencing Friday. Wershe Jr., 46, deserves a new sentence because he was sentenced at the age of 18 under old law and the justice system now treats juveniles constitutionally different than adults, Wayne County Circuit Judge Dana Hathaway ruled.(David Coates/Detroit News via AP)  DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT

    Rick Wershe Jr. is escorted into a courtroom at Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit. Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. Wershe, a major Detroit-area drug trafficker known as "White Boy Rick" and who has spent nearly 30 years in prison, could soon be released after a judge ordered a resentencing Friday. Wershe Jr., 46, deserves a new sentence because he was sentenced at the age of 18 under old law and the justice system now treats juveniles constitutionally different than adults, Wayne County Circuit Judge Dana Hathaway ruled.(David Coates/Detroit News via AP) DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT  (The Associated Press)

  • Wayne Circuit Court Judge Dana Margaret Hathaway presides over a hearing for Rick Wershe Jr. at Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit. Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. Wershe, a major Detroit-area drug trafficker known as "White Boy Rick" and who has spent nearly 30 years in prison, could soon be released after a judge ordered a resentencing Friday. Wershe Jr., 46, deserves a new sentence because he was sentenced at the age of 18 under old law and the justice system now treats juveniles constitutionally different than adults, Wayne County Circuit Judge Dana Hathaway ruled.(David Coates/Detroit News via AP)  DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT

    Wayne Circuit Court Judge Dana Margaret Hathaway presides over a hearing for Rick Wershe Jr. at Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit. Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. Wershe, a major Detroit-area drug trafficker known as "White Boy Rick" and who has spent nearly 30 years in prison, could soon be released after a judge ordered a resentencing Friday. Wershe Jr., 46, deserves a new sentence because he was sentenced at the age of 18 under old law and the justice system now treats juveniles constitutionally different than adults, Wayne County Circuit Judge Dana Hathaway ruled.(David Coates/Detroit News via AP) DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT  (The Associated Press)

  • Darlene McCormick, mother of Rick Wershe Jr., watches during a hearing at Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit. Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. Wershe, a major Detroit-area drug trafficker known as "White Boy Rick" and who has spent nearly 30 years in prison, could soon be released after a judge ordered a resentencing Friday. Wershe Jr., 46, deserves a new sentence because he was sentenced at the age of 18 under old law and the justice system now treats juveniles constitutionally different than adults, Wayne County Circuit Judge Dana Hathaway ruled.(David Coates/Detroit News via AP)  DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT

    Darlene McCormick, mother of Rick Wershe Jr., watches during a hearing at Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in Detroit. Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. Wershe, a major Detroit-area drug trafficker known as "White Boy Rick" and who has spent nearly 30 years in prison, could soon be released after a judge ordered a resentencing Friday. Wershe Jr., 46, deserves a new sentence because he was sentenced at the age of 18 under old law and the justice system now treats juveniles constitutionally different than adults, Wayne County Circuit Judge Dana Hathaway ruled.(David Coates/Detroit News via AP) DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT  (The Associated Press)

A major Detroit-area drug trafficker known as "White Boy Rick" who has spent nearly 30 years in prison for crimes going back to his teen years is expected to face a judge reconsidering his life sentence.

Forty-six-year-old Richard Wershe Jr. is to appear Friday morning before Wayne County Circuit Judge Dana Hathaway.

Wershe was arrested in 1987. Prosecutors said he had cocaine before his arrest but dumped it in a neighbor's yard before being apprehended.

Wershe was convicted of possessing more than 650 grams of cocaine and was 18 when sentenced to life in prison without parole. Changes in Michigan's drug law made him eligible for parole.

At the time, authorities described Wershe as being at the top echelons of trafficking.

Defense attorney Ralph Musilli says his sentence is unconstitutional.