On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal in the case of Lee Carroll Brooker, an elderly veteran who is now serving a mandatory life sentence for growing his own medical marijuana.
Lee Carroll Brooker
The 75-year-old disabled veteran from Alabama had prior offenses in Florida from two decades ago, so when he was sentenced for growing approximately three dozen marijuana plants for his own use, he was hit with a mandatory life without parole sentence. Alabama, like three other states, has a mandatory sentence for marijuana possession with prior felony convictions.
Brooker maintained, and the state did not argue, that the plants were being grown for his own personal use dealing with his multiple chronic illnesses — yet he was charged with drug trafficking.
As he was growing the plants on his son's property, his son Darren Lee Brooker was also charged. His sentence however was much lighter, five years of probation with a suspended five year prison sentence that will be dismissed as long as he does not violate his probation.
"By any reasonable modern measure, imposing the second most severe punishment in the American justice system for such a minor crime as marijuana possession violates the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishments," Jesse Wegman asserted in the New York Times.