There goes another one.

Monday, May 9th, 2011

2 pounds of pot get a man in New Orleans a life sentence.

A 35 year old man from New Orleans was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison after he was convicted of              possessing two pounds of marijuana with the intent to distribute. It was the fourth marijuana conviction for                        Cornell Hood II, and likely his last as a free man.

Here are a few more details from a local paper.

At Hood’s one-day trial, the evidence presented by the prosecution included a digital scale and about a dozen bags that had contained marijuana before being seized from the house, testimony showed. Deputies also found $1,600 in cash and a student-loan application with Hood’s name on it inside of a night stand.

Jurors deliberated for less than two hours and convicted Hood of a reduced charge, which usually carries no more than 15 years’ imprisonment. Assistant District Attorney Nick Noriea Jr. then used Hood’s past convictions on Thursday to argue that he was a career criminal worthy of a severe punishment.

Sounds like a real career criminal, student loan application and all.


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25 Responses to “There goes another one.”

  1. #1 |  Joe | 

    Assuming he has another 40 years of life left that translates to about $13,000 per year (Louisianna has the lowest cost per prisoner in the country) or over half a million dollars.

    Can’t we save prison space for violent felons and figure out a better way to deal with non violent felons.

    Let alone just legalizing weed.

  2. #2 |  David | 

    Jesus. If you’re going to push for a life sentence on the reduced charge, why even leave it as an option? It’s like they were baiting the jury.


  3. #3 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    Louisiana prosecutors just love that “three strikes” law. When I was a librarian in the early ’90s there was a highly-publicized case of a man who was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison without hope of parole; he maintained his innocence and named the real murderer but was of course ignored. So he escaped prison three times, living an exemplary life on each time away (the third time for several years). Shortly after his third recapture, the true murderer (the man he had named) confessed on his deathbed. The reaction of Louisiana officials? They argued he should be kept in prison for the rest of his life anyway because escaping prison is a felony and he had thus committed three felonies. They eventually failed in the attempt to keep him locked up, but not for lack of trying.

  4. #4 |  Alyona Minkovski | 

    Sorry for the odd gaps in the first paragraph there….it’s Monday morning.

  5. #5 |  Cyto | 

    #3 | Maggie McNeill |

    You bring up an interesting ethical dilemma. Most religions and many secular morality constructs view suicide as a mortal sin. Call it an embodiment of the natural instinct of self-preservation if you will.

    We recognize this right to self-preservation in our right to self defense – up to and including the use of deadly force.

    So, if you were wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to die, would you not have an absolute right to self-defense? In fact, under the “suicide is a mortal sin” construct, wouldn’t you be compelled to do anything in your power to escape? (the alternative being to cooperate in your own death)

    Since the state has put its intentions to kill our putative innocent into writing and followed up on that threat with an organized showing of force, wouldn’t our innocent be fully justified in any escape attempt, regardless of how many of his jailors might suffer fatal consequences?

    And yet our laws would not recognize such attempts as self-defense. Just another logical inconsistency that is a symptom of a flawed system.

  6. #6 |  Mattocracy | 

    What a goddamn evil thing to do to a human being. Lose your freedom forever after not hurting anybody.

  7. #7 |  Nipplemancer | 

    poor bastard. words fail me when shit like this happens over a fucking plant.

  8. #8 |  Jozef | 

    On related topic, man has car and dog confiscated for transporting tortilla dough.

  9. #9 |  DarkEFang | 

    If marijuana were to be legalized, would all these convictions of people for drug possession be vacated? How exactly was this handled after Prohibition was repealed?

  10. #10 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    If you really want to make it about the expense of incarceration, the statist will then legalize slavery.

    Can anyone cite for me the number of recorded deaths due to dope smoking? I believe it is zero…in history.

  11. #11 |  Bob | 

    Here’s a plan!

    Let’s throw a guy in jail for LIFE for a non violent offense, that way… not only will the tax payers foot the bill, but he’ll be able to train an endless supply of NEW non violent offenders in his now violent criminal ways!

    And if he wasn’t a violent offender before, he will be now.

    More violent offenders created in prison means more jobs for the ‘justice’ system!

    Good work, boys!

  12. #12 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    likely his last as a free man.

    Ah…I see what you did there. The prisons have a big supply of drug dealing inside (oh, the irony). Maybe he can still traffic.

  13. #13 |  ClubMedSux | 

    I think one of the problems with three-strikes laws is that they make otherwise outrageous sentences palatable by adding a veneer of “they deserve what they get because they had fair warning.” Even as somebody who’s ardently anti-drug-war, my initial reaction was, “well he’s hardly a sympathetic case because if you’ve twice been convicted of drug trafficking and STILL continue to do it, you ARE a career criminal.” Of course, being a libertarian, I next ask myself, “Even if he has shown little desire to stop dealing drugs, should he spend the rest of his life in jail for engaging in victimless, consensual crimes?” But for somebody who has a gut feeling that there’s something unfair about the War on Drugs, but grew up in a conservative, law-and-order household, they’re never going to ask that second question. “Three strikes” gives the sentence an artificial cloak of fairness, and that’s what’s really damning about it.

  14. #14 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    BTW, nice interview with Schiff, Alyona. Damn, that man has made me some money (which is NOT held in US currency).

  15. #15 |  Marty | 

    I bet the prosecutor saw the student loan app and saw this as a case of a drug dealer planning on dealing in a school zone, creating a much more serious crime.

  16. #16 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    I think Louisiana also classifies repeated Prostitution convicts
    as “sex offenders.” Crimes against nature or some such drivel.
    Put GPS on their ankles, kill any prospect for a decent jobs,
    because they were out trying to make some dough to feed their
    kid and pay rent.
    Your tax dollars at work.

  17. #17 |  Aresen | 

    Assistant District Attorney Nick Noriea Jr., may you rot in hell.

  18. #18 |  CTD | 

    I’d like to congratulate all the new bloggers for upholding my daily “read the Agitator and get sick to my stomach first thing in the morning” ritual.

    Good (?) work guys.

  19. #19 |  Jeff | 

    Stories like this and the one recounted in the third comment above cause me to reflect on the incongruity and unconscious irony of modern Independence Day celebrations (and other soirees and hosannas).

  20. #20 |  John Q. Galt | 

    Collaborating jurors are ultimately responsible for much of the damage done by the war on drugs. If and when political violence finally comes to the USA, I trust that they will get theirs.

  21. #21 |  Marty | 

    #8 | Jozef- niiiiiiice link. I can only imagine his fears while locked up.

  22. #22 |  Andrew S. | 

    Way to go, Louisiana. You’re totally not creating perverse incentives here. Because it’s not like putting people in jail for non-violent offenses will encourage people to be violent in order to have a better chance of getting away with it.

  23. #23 |  varmintito | 

    I don’t know about everybody else, but I feel100% safer knowing that this guy will be a lifer.

    Unbelievable. Actually, plenty believable.

  24. #24 |  A Few Random Morning Links … | The Pretense of Knowledge | 

    […] There goes another one. […]

  25. #25 |  Deoxy | 

    I’m against the drug war – it’s really stupid.

    That said, dude, when you’ve got several convictions already, seriously QUIT.

    This isn’t about right or wrong, it’s about simple intelligence – QUIT THAT SHIT.

    The underlying law? Yes, bad. Should he be locked up for life? No.

    Was it amazingly stupid to be doing that AGAIN (in such a short time, judging by his age)? Yes!

    It doesn’t justify it, but it gets pretty close. Bloody crap, that’s one step away from a Darwin award.