A man who spent 23 years in prison for stealing a hedge clipper who was granted parole

According to CBS affiliate KLFY, a 63-year-old man who had been sentenced to life imprisonment for stealing a hedge clipper was released on parole. The Louisiana Pardon Commission and Parole Commission resolved this week to release Fairway Bryant after serving 23 years in prison.

Brian was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole in 1997 for stealing a hedge clipper from a residential garage. According to KLFY, the crime itself did not justify life imprisonment, but four felony sentences: attempted armed robbery, possession of stolen goods, attempted counterfeiting of checks, and simple robbery caused habitual criminal law in Louisiana. I did.

Earlier this year, the Louisiana Supreme Court Supported the ruling KLFY said in a 5-1 decision. The Chief Justice voted the only negative vote, writing that the ruling was “significantly out of proportion to crime and does not serve a legitimate criminal purpose.” Judge Bernette Johnson, the only black member of the court, also said that Bryant’s prison time cost taxpayers about $ 518,667.

“Mr. Bryant’s decision is an example of a flaw in Louisiana’s criminal law system, but the Parole Commission’s decision to allow him to be released early demonstrates the importance of regular assessments of personal rehabilitation. He will continue to receive support from the state of Louisiana, Parole Project, Inc. ” Kelsey Jenkins, a third-year law student at LSU, worked on Bryant’s case.

After nearly 24 years in prison, Fairway Bryant left Angola this afternoon. His story reminds us of that …

Posted by Louisiana Parole Project on Thursday, October 15, 2020

The Louisiana branch of ACLU also congratulated Bryant on his release and wrote: The cause of equal justice for his family, and for all. “

The ACLU also called on the state to abolish the addiction law that led to Bryant’s sentence, saying that blacks make up 79% of those convicted of addiction.

At the parole hearing, the Associated Press reported that three members of the committee (two white and one black) were told about Bryant’s numerous previous arrests and his history of drug and alcohol use. I focused on it.

Bryant on the day of his liberation.

Photo by Kelly Myers, Louisiana Parole Project

Brian admitted at a hearing that he had a drug problem, but said, “It took me 24 years to recognize the problem and keep in touch with the Lord to solve it.” AP reported. The panel also said that while Bryant was imprisoned, he participated in a drug and anger management program and had no recent disciplinary issues.

According to AP, he must attend an anonymous meeting of alcoholism, comply with the curfew, and provide community services as a condition of parole.

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