New Law Could Help Free Louisiana Man Serving Life in Prison For Cannabis



Kevin O’Brien Allen was caught advertising $20 well worth of cannabis to an undercover officer in 2012 and 2013. He was originally sentenced to 10 a long time in jail in 2014, but it was later prolonged under the state’s “habitual offender status” to life in prison without any possibility of parole.

Even so, a new Louisiana law could give Allen with a way to be launched. La.C.Cr.P. art. 930.10a amends the existing Code of Legal Course of action Report to “relative to submit conviction aid to present for a petitioner’s assert of factual innocence to offer for exceptions to supply for evidence to offer for appointment of judges to offer for motions of testing evidence to supply for grounds for aid to deliver for load of evidence to offer for joint motions to supply for waiver to supply for time constraints and to deliver for relevant issues.”

In an job interview with The New Orleans Advocate in December 2021, Allen tackled the injustice he has knowledgeable. “All I did was get established up from some medications,” said he reported. “I however sense to this day that I’m not supposed to be listed here.” Experiences point out that Allen is a father of two kids, and experienced a steady position at the time of his conviction.

The new law would permit authorized reps these kinds of as District Attorney (DA) J. Schuyler Marvin for Bossier and Webster Parishes, to decrease Allen’s sentence and get him introduced. This is made probable by letting the DA to “jointly enter into any submit conviction plea agreement for the goal of amending the petitioner’s conviction, sentence, or recurring offender standing.”

The Past Prisoner Job (LPP) launched a marketing campaign #FreeKevinAllen on February 15 to deliver consciousness to the scenario. The firm presents pre-written scripts to make contact with neighborhood reps such as District Lawyer J. Schuyler Marvin, and Assistant District Attorneys Alexandra S. Aiello, Andrew Jacobs, John M. Lawrence and Richard R. Ray to petition their aid in encouraging Allen’s circumstance.

“In 2021, Louisiana passed a law decriminalizing health-related cannabis so possession of up to 14 grams is only punishable by a $100 high-quality, with out the threat of jail time. Now, a newly-enacted law (La.C.Cr.P. artwork. 930.10) offers an avenue for Allen to remedy his protracted publish-conviction litigation and as a substitute do the job with you all in the DA’s workplace to come to a mutually agreed on ‘post-conviction plea arrangement,’” reads the LPP script. “In light-weight of the minimal character of Allen’s offenses, marijuana’s escalating legality, as properly as time Kevin has currently served, I’m respectfully urging DA Schuyler Marvin to use his authority to free Kevin Allen and make it possible for him to return residence to his supportive group.” Final Prisoner Project lately held a day of action on February 20, aka Planet Working day of Social Justice, to generate momentum for people who are still investing time in prison for hashish convictions.

In accordance to Nola.com, there are around 4,100 Louisianans who are serving existence in prison with no parole, and of that range, 300 of them are labeled as “habitual offenders.” Whilst there are an approximated 31 p.c of Black people who dwell in the southern state, 66 per cent of condition prisoners are Black, and 73 % of them are now serving lifestyle in prison. Louisiana has extensive been criticized for its high incarceration level, where details collected by the Prison Policy Initiative estimates that “it locks up a better proportion of its people than any democracy on earth.”

Louisiana Senate applicant Gary Chambers Jr. also brought up the state’s outdated cannabis laws in his recent January campaign online video. “Black people are 4 periods additional probably to be arrested for marijuana regulations than white people today,” he reported when smoking cigarettes a joint. “States squander $3.7 billion imposing marijuana regulations every 12 months. Most of the men and women law enforcement are arresting aren’t sellers, but somewhat people today with small quantities of pot, just like me.”