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Caddo Parish, Louisiana: Most Racist in USA: Life in Prison for $20 in Marijuana

2015-08-09

I have recently posted about Caddo Parish (home of Shreveport), where a young black man was  sentenced to death after his infant son died of pneumonia while sleeping next to him in bed.  He was wrongfully convicted based on a bad autopsy which was contradicted by three expert pathologists, whose testimony was ignored by the appellate court.

This post is also about Caddo Parish, where a young black man was sentenced to life in prison after arranging a $20 marijuana purchase (two dime bags.)  The vehicle for the life sentence was the three strikes law: he had previously been sentenced for two non-violent felonies (burglary and possession of cocaine.)  At the time of his crime, the man was homeless and hungry, and said he needed the money for food.  He was homeless because he couldn’t get a job due to his felony criminal record, and he was hungry because anyone convicted of a drug crime is permanently ineligible for food stamps.

First, a transaction involving two dime bags (less than half an ounce) of marijuana should not be a felony under even the most Draconian of legal systems.  Second, it is absurd to call a three-strikes conviction for three nonviolent crimes an excuse to put someone in prison for life without parole.  Third, this is the most expensive solution for homelessness ever devised.  Finally, this is racism and anti-drug hysteria rolled together for a more potent threat to life and health.

The location is important: Caddo Parish is majority black (fifty-four to forty-one percent), and ninety-one percent of all those incarcerated for life from this location are black.  This is the location in which the second-most lynchings of anywhere in the US have occurred.  This is the location where, shortly before this man committed his crime, a black man who was filling up his car at a gas station was viciously beaten by three whites who shouted “fuck the niggers!  Fuck Obama!” while they were beating him.

This is not just a case of anti-drug hysteria institutionalized.  Racism, both personal and institutional, and racist violence are alive and well in Caddo Parish.  Read about it in The Daily Beast, here.

 

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