Today the United States Supreme Court decided not to hear a case challenging a mandatory life-without-parole sentence imposed on Lee Carroll Brooker in Alabama. Mr. Brooker was convicted of possessing less than three pounds of marijuana and was sentenced to die in prison, in part because he had prior convictions.
Alabama law equates the possession of more than 2.2 pounds of marijuana with the most extreme violent crimes, including capital murder and terrorism.
EJI has argued that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for possession of marijuana for personal use violates the prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Even for someone with a prior criminal history, equating marijuana possession with the most severe violent crimes is unusual and, EJI maintains, cruel. Mr. Brooker, a combat veteran, was disabled at the time of his arrest.
EJI will continue to challenge extreme sentences for drug offenses.