Drug Law

Ridiculous: Life in Prison for Marijuana Dealer

| by NORML
By "Radical" Russ Belville

(NOLA.com) State Judge Raymond S. Childress punished [Cornel] Hood [II] under Louisiana’s repeat-offender law in his courtroom in Covington on Thursday. A jury on Feb. 15 found the defendant guilty of attempting to possess and distribute marijuana at his Slidell home, court records show.

Hood moved from eastern New Orleans to the Slidell area after he admitted to separate charges of distribution of marijuana and possession with intent to distribute marijuana on Dec. 18, 2009, in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court. He received a suspended five-year prison sentence and five years’ of probation for each — which was precisely the same penalty he got in that court after pleading guilty to possessing and intending to distribute marijuana on Feb. 22, 2005.

[Hood's probation officer] found nearly two pounds of pot throughout the house, according to court records. He alerted Sheriff’s Office deputies. They arrested Hood, who apparently shared the King’s Point house with his mother and young son.

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.

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The judge in this case cited the fact that Hood had been busted three times before and was apparently an unrepentant marijuana dealer who would never change.  The judge said that everybody is bound by the law and Hood clearly didn’t respect the law.

So judge, did you ever stop to think that the law isn’t deserving of respect?  He was packaging and distributing a non-toxic flower that willing customers chose to purchase and consume.  Could that entrepreneurship have been put to good use in a legal framework?  Instead of a prisoner at age 35 who is going to cost Louisiana taxpayers $13,000 / year, you could have had “Cornel’s Hood o’ Hemp”, a legit business contributing jobs and taxes and economic revitalization.

If Cornel lives to age 74, Louisiana will spend over a half-million dollars keeping him in prison. Meanwhile, distribution of marijuana in Louisiana will continue unabated.  Sadly, it looks like Cornell was trying to get a student loan; who knows, maybe he was trying to start his life over, get an education, and start a new career.  For half a million bucks, we could give 21 students four years of education at Louisiana State University.