A Black Louisiana man will spend the rest of his life in prison for stealing hedge clippers, after the Louisiana Supreme Court denied his request to have his sentence overturned last week.
Fair Wayne Bryant, 62, was convicted in 1997 on one count of attempted simple burglary.
In his appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Louisiana in 2018, his attorney, Peggy Sullivan, wrote that Bryant “contends that his life sentence is unconstitutionally harsh and excessive.”
Last week, though, the state Supreme Court disagreed — with five justices choosing to uphold the life sentence.
The lone dissenter in the decision was Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson, who wrote that “the sentence imposed is excessive and disproportionate to the offense the defendant committed.”
Johnson is the only female and Black person on the court.
The rest of the justices are White men.
The sentence is sanctioned under the habitual offender law, Johnson noted in her dissent, meaning that Bryant’s previous criminal history supports the sentence.
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