I have a pretty disturbing story today from the front line of the War on Drugs. But I also feel very fortunate to have some help in telling what’s being done to rectify this sorry situation. That help will come from Mr. Stephen Post, who is a campaign manager and communication strategist for the Last Prisoner Project who has very kindly taken the time to join us today.
The headline to the story from Ganjapreneur gets to the heart of the matter,
Kevin O’Brien Allen, a 39-year-old Louisiana man, is serving life in prison without parole after being arrested for selling $20 worth of cannabis to a police informant.
And how sad is it that we are not surprised to learn from the photo of Mr. Allen that he's black?
From now on, when you hear the phrase “unfairly targeted by the war on drugs”, Mr. Allen’s face should appear before you.
Here's his story: “On December 27, 2012, and March 13, 2013, the Bossier Sheriff’s Narcotics Task Force paid a confidential informant to approach Allen and solicit marijuana. Mr. Allen provided the snitch* with a grand total of $20 worth of weed...
(*By the way, in an especially cruel twist of targeting, the informant was Mr. Allen’s childhood friend, who betrayed him and caused his future to be stolen from him).
“… and in 2014, Allen was sentenced to 10 years hard labor for each count – 20 years hard labor for $20 weed…
“But the nightmare didn’t stop there: state prosecutors ultimately pushed to enhance the punishment under Louisiana’s habitual offender statutes (also known as Three Strikes, looking at you California, looking at you Bill Clinton, looking at you Joe Biden).
"Due to multiple past drug-related convictions, Allen’s sentence was increased to life imprisonment without the chance of parole, probation, or sentence suspension."
A man’s life was ruined and future stolen from him by the State of Louisiana for $20 of weed.
"Fortunately, a new Louisiana law, La.C.Cr.P. art. 930.10, provides an opportunity for J. Schuyler Marvin— the Bossier and Webster Parish District Attorney—to reduce Mr. Allen’s sentence by working with him to come to mutually agreed upon “post-conviction plea agreement”. In layman terms, DA Marvin can release Kevin."
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Stephen Post from the Last Prisoner Project has helped us understand details surrounding this case, including the fact that Mr. Allen was convicted by a split jury, which has been found unconstitutional multiple times and is one of the bases for the Last Prisoner Project’s work to free him, and more than 40,000 prisoners like him.
LEARN MORE AT https://www.lastprisonerproject.org/freekevinallen
SHARE THE HASHTAG #FREEKEVINALLEN
Grab the image below and post it EVERYWHERE you can
Sample email and call scripts can be found on the #FreeKevinAllen webpage.
“Hello, my name is ______.
I’m calling in regards to Kevin Allen (C-199853), a Louisianan currently incarcerated at Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole after he was convicted of selling $20 worth of marijuana.
In 2021, Louisiana passed a law decriminalizing medical marijuana so possession of up to 14 grams is only punishable by a $100 fine, without the threat of jail time. Now, a newly-enacted law (La.C.Cr.P. art. 930.10) provides an avenue for Allen to remedy his protracted post-conviction litigation and instead work with you all in the DA’s office to come to a mutually agreed upon “post-conviction plea agreement.”
In light of the minor nature of Allen's offenses, marijuana's growing legality, as well as time Kevin has already served, I'm respectfully urging DA Schuyler Marvin to use his authority to free Kevin Allen and allow him to return home to his supportive community.
Thank you so much for your time."