BATON ROUGE, La. – Is an 18-year prison sentence too harsh for having 18 grams of marijuana?
The Louisiana Supreme Court's chief justice thinks so, and says it's outrageous that her colleagues upheld the punishment.
In her dissenting opinion Wednesday, Chief Justice Bernette Johnson said it's ridiculous that a lengthy prison sentence for such a small amount of marijuana would be allowed to stand.
A jury convicted Gary D. Howard of marijuana possession with intent to distribute. A Caddo Parish judge sentenced him as a habitual offender in 2014. Howard's previous convictions include possession of firearm by a convicted felon in 2008.
The state Supreme Court's majority ruled there was evidence that Howard packaged the marijuana for distribution, not his personal use.