‘Perfect Timing’: Louisiana Black Man Sentenced to Life Gets Thanksgiving Miracle After Court Declares His Sentencing Was Illegal

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The Louisiana Supreme Court ruled a lower court’s decision to sentence a Black man to life in prison without parole for stealing a book bag and a pair of sneakers was illegal. Now the district attorney’s office has reduced his charges, and, after over a decade, the senior citizen will be able to go home to see his loved ones. On Tuesday, Nov. 22, East Baton Rouge state court Judge Tarvald Smith apologized to Joe “Willie” Washington on behalf of the state for how his case was handled by the system over the 11 years he has been incarcerated for the petty theft crime. Joe “Willie” Washington (Right) with a friend after being released from Angola. (Photo provided to The Advocate) In an effort to rectify the grave injustice, he re-sentenced the 68-year-old to eight and a half years in Louisiana Department of Corrections custody with credit for the time he had already served, the Advocate reports. “Mr. Washington, you have a story to tell,” the judge said. “The law can be unfair at times. But in the end, when I take this black robe off, I think justice has prevailed in this case.” Washington had already served 11 years...

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