Story at a glance

  • Allen Russell was reportedly in possession of five bags of marijuana when he was arrested in 2017, and two of the five bags contained 1.5 ounces.
  • Mississippi law permits a life sentence for habitual offenders if the offender served a year in prison for two individual felonies and if one of the felonies was a violent offense.
  • Russell had served previous time for two home burglaries and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Allen Russel, a 38-year-old Black man, will still serve a life sentence for possession of marijuana after a Mississippi Appeals Court upheld his sentence. 

Under Mississippi state law, the possession of 1.05 to 8.8 ounces of marijuana can hold a sentence of up to three years, a $3,000 fine, or both, according to the Associated Press.


America is changing faster than ever! Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news.


Russell was reportedly in possession of five bags of marijuana when he was arrested in 2017, and two of the five bags contained 1.5 ounces. 

Russell’s life sentence was upheld by the state appeals court because of his status as a “habitual offender.”

Mississippi law permits a life sentence for habitual offenders if the offender served a year in prison for two individual felonies and if one of the felonies was a violent offense. 

Russell served more than eight years in prison for two home burglaries and an additional two years for the unlawful possession of a firearm, according to the Mississippi Court of Appeals ruling.

A number of judges on the court of appeals dissented. 


READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA

NY TIMES ESTIMATES WEALTHY AMERICANS ARE REFUSING TO PAY $1.4T IN UNCOLLECTED TAXES

HOW MAYORS FOR A GUARANTEED INCOME ARE PROVING THE ‘WELFARE QUEEN’ STEREOTYPE WRONG

BLACK LIVES MATTER ANNOUNCES NEW SURVIVAL FUND AMIDST THE WAIT FOR COVID-19 RELIEF

MOST AMERICANS BACK RAISING FEDERAL MINIMUM WAGE TO $15, POLL SAYS

ORDINARY FOLKS WILL BE PAYING OFF $50B IN TEXAS FREEZE COSTS FOR DECADES

Published on May 14, 2021