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Louisiana Man Sentenced to 13 Years for Two Joints

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A Louisiana man by the name of Bernard Noble was recently sentenced to over 13 years hard labor in prison with no possibility of parole for the possession of two joints. The Drug Policy Alliance is shocked by the man’s sentence and is now demanding the Louisiana Supreme Court review the case.

“Thirteen years in prison for two joints is obscene,” said Daniel Abrahamson with the Drug Policy Alliance. “The punishment is so far out of proportion to the conduct that we really can’t call it ‘punishment’ – it is more like torture.”

A judge initially sentenced Nobel to five years of hard labor, but the district attorney in the case did not agree with the verdict and filed an appeal –costing the man nearly three times more of his life than was first ruled.

Although Nobel had two prior low-level non-violent drug convictions under his belt, a substantial amount of time had lapsed since they occurred – 8 and 20 years ago, respectively. However, the third offense was all the state needed to nail him with the habitual offender statute. Nobel will be 61-years-old at the time of his release.

“The sentence inflicted by Louisiana in this case for simple, low-level marijuana possession, on a gainfully employed father with absolutely no history any serious or violent crime, cannot be justified by any measure,” said Abrahamson. “It does not enhance public safety. It will destroy Mr. Noble and his family. And it flies in the face of what Louisianans believe. “

Recent polls indicate that Louisiana residents strongly oppose lengthy prison sentences for non-violent drug offenders. Most residents agree the end result of these types of actions are expensive for tax payers and do not benefit the greater good.

“Finally, Mr. Noble’s prison sentence for possessing two joints will cost Louisiana taxpayers nearly one-quarter of a million dollars and will add to the majority of nonviolent offenders who currently fill Louisiana’s prisons,” said Abrahamson. “In fact, only 17 percent of the state’s prison inmates have committed violent crimes, whereas fully one quarter of the state’s prison population is there for drug crimes.”

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