Man Serving Life For $20 Marijuana Charge Has Been Released

A Louisiana man who was serving a life sentence for selling $20 worth of marijuana was released from prison this week.

According to CBS News, Fate Winslow was reunited with his children and grandchildren on Wednesday (December 16) after serving 12 years of his sentence.

“I’m full of joy,” Winslow told the news outlet. “I’m so happy, man. I got to be with my family last night once I was released, and I can’t explain it. I’m so happy.”

According to his attorneys at the Innocence Project New Orleans, back in 2008, Winslow was homeless and living on the streets of Shreveport when an undercover officer approached him in search of marijuana. They say Winslow borrowed a bike and returned with two dime bags of marijuana worth $20, and sold it to the officer for $5 so he could buy food. He was later arrested for distribution.

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Winslow had three prior non-violent crime convictions: business burglary, car burglary and cocaine possession. Under Louisiana law, a mandatory life sentence was required for a repeat offender.

Jee Park, Winslow’s attorney, said Winslow’s trial attorney did “little no work” to fight for a lesser offense. “He did not get the jury process that he should have received. He did not receive the representation he’s entitled to,” Park told CBS.

While in prison, Winslow connected with Innocence Project New Orleans and would eventually be re-sentenced. After applying for relief, Winslow’s sentence was updated to 12 years with credit for time served, which set him free. He has since reconnected with his family, including nieces and nephews he had never met before.

“Everybody — my sisters, my brothers, they’re just happy,” Winslow said.

Winslow is reportedly starting a new job on Monday and plans to spend more time with his family.

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