Louisiana: Sentencing Reprieve Requested For Man Given 13 Years For 2 Joints
The Drug Policy Alliance on Tuesday formally requested Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to grant Bernard Noble a gubernatorial reprieve and release him from prison, where he has served more than four years behind bars having been sentenced to a term of 13.3 years of hard labor without the opportunity for parole for possessing the equivalent of two marijuana cigarettes.
Pursuant to Article IV, Section 5 of the Louisiana Constitution, the Governor has the absolute power to issue reprieves of persons convicted of crimes against the state. Drug Policy Alliance has written Governor Jindal asking him to exercise his power of office by staying Noble’s unjust sentence and setting him free.
Legislation signed into law by Governor Jindal earlier this year would make Noble a free man today had it been the law at the time of his offense. Because the new law is not retroactive in its application, a gubernatorial reprieve is required for Noble’s release. Noble has been a model prisoner during his incarceration.
Back in March, Gov. Jindal denied a clemency request from Noble; the reason given was that Noble hadn't yet served 10 years in prison.
“The sentence inflicted by Louisiana on Mr. Noble for simple, low-level marijuana possession, on a gainfully employed father with absolutely no history of any serious or violent crime, is a travesty,” said Daniel Abrahamson, senior legal advisor to the DPA. “Mr. Noble’s sentence does not enhance public safety. It has devastated Mr. Noble and his family. And it flies in the face of what Louisianans believe and what current law provides.
“Governor Jindal should exercise mercy and use his power as Governor to advance fairness, justice and compassion by issuing Mr. Noble a sentencing reprieve,” Abrahamson said.
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.