Man Serving Life In Prison for $20 Cannabis Sale Gets Chance at Freedom Under New Louisiana Law
In a recent development, Kevin O’Brien Allen, a 39-year-old Louisiana man who is serving life in prison without parole after being arrested for selling $20 worth of cannabis to a police informant, has been given a chance at freedom under a state law passed last year.
Allen’s case dates back to 2012 and 2013 when he was arrested and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment and hard labor. However, state prosecutors pushed to enhance the punishment under Louisiana’s habitual offender statutes, due to Allen’s multiple past drug-related convictions. As a result, Allen was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Louisiana Second Chance Act.
But Allen may now be able to take advantage of Louisiana’s new “Louisiana Second Chance Act,” which allows certain prisoners serving life sentences to petition for a reduced sentence. The new law went into effect on August 1, 2018.
It is not yet clear whether Allen will be able to benefit from the new law, but his case is currently being reviewed by the state’s Board of Pardons. If Allen is granted a pardon, he could be released from prison as early as next year.
This case highlights the harshness of America’s drug laws, which can often lead to life imprisonment for nonviolent offenses. It also shows that change is possible and that those who are sentenced under draconian laws may have a chance at redemption. We hope that Kevin O’Brien Allen can take advantage of the new Louisiana Second Chance Act and be released from prison after spending over five years behind bars for a nonviolent cannabis offense.