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Crime Black man serving life sentence for stealing hedge clippers granted parole in Louisiana

03:50  17 october  2020
03:50  17 october  2020 Source:   cnn.com

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A Black Louisiana man will spend the rest of his life in prison for stealing hedge clippers , after the Louisiana Supreme Court denied his request to have his sentence overturned last week.

NEW ORLEANS — A Black man whose life sentence for making off with hedge clippers in a 1997 burglary drew scathing criticism from the chief justice of Louisiana ’s Supreme Court was granted parole Thursday. The 3-0 vote during an online meeting of the Committee on Parole means freedom

A parole board in Louisiana granted parole for a Black man Thursday after the state Supreme Court initially denied the man's appeal.

a man standing in front of a building: Fair Wayne Bryant walks out of prison after being granted parole on Thursday, October 15, 2020. © From Louisiana Parole Project/Facebook Fair Wayne Bryant walks out of prison after being granted parole on Thursday, October 15, 2020.

Fair Wayne Bryant, 63, was sentenced in 1997 to life in prison for stealing hedge clippers, court records show. He was convicted of one count of attempted simple burglary. In August, five of the six state Supreme Court justices upheld the Bryant's life sentence and denied his appeal.

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A black man in Louisiana will continue to serve a life sentence in prison for trying to steal hedge clippers after the state supreme court denied a request to review his sentence . Fair Wayne Bryant was convicted in 1997 of attempted simple burglary. The five justices who rejected his appeal – all white

The Committee on Parole voted unanimously to release Fair Wayne Bryant on Thursday - two months after the Louisiana Supreme Court denied his Black man , 63, who was sentenced to life in prison for stealing hedge clippers in 1997 is granted parole two months after Louisiana Supreme Court

"While nothing can make up for the years Mr. Bryant lost to this extreme and unjust sentence, today's decision by the parole board is a long-overdue victory for Mr. Bryant, his family, and the cause of equal justice for all," said Alanah Odoms, ACLU of Louisiana executive director.

CNN has reached out to Bryant's attorney, Peggy Sullivan, for comment.

Bryant's sentence was sanctioned under the habitual offender law, meaning that Bryant's previous criminal history supports the sentence.

Bryant was convicted in 1979 for attempted armed robbery, in 1987 for possession of stolen things, attempted forgery of a check worth $150 in 1989 and for simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling in 1992, all before his 1997 arrest for the failed attempt at stealing the hedge clippers.

Bryant's sentence is a "modern manifestation" of "pig laws," which were created in the years after Reconstruction, Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson wrote as the only dissenting judge on Bryant's case in August. The laws "criminalized recently emancipated African American citizens by introducing extreme sentences for petty theft associated with poverty," she wrote.

"Now it is imperative that the Legislature repeal the habitual offender law that allows for these unfair sentences, and for district attorneys across the state to immediately stop seeking extreme penalties for minor offenses," said Odoms, the Louisiana ACLU executive director.

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