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September 13, 2015

Alabama Chief Justice laments mandatory LWOP drug sentence for 76-year-old offender

As reported in this AP article, "Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore says the case of a 76-year-man sentenced to life without parole for a drug offense shows the need to change sentencing laws."  Here is more about the notable separate opinion authored by the top jurist of the the Cotton State:

Moore issued a special writing Friday as the Supreme Court refused to overturn the case of Lee Carroll Brooker. "I believe Brooker's sentence is excessive and unjustified," Moore wrote.

Brooker lived with his son in Houston County, and court documents show police found a marijuana-growing operation there during a search in 2013. The elderly man was convicted of drug trafficking last year, and a judge sentenced him to life without parole because of past robbery convictions in Florida. His son was also convicted. Moore writes that the life-without-parole sentence for a non-violent drug offense shows "grave flaws" in Alabama's sentencing system.

"A trial court should have the discretion to impose a less severe sentence than life imprisonment without the possibility of parole," Moore added. "I urge the legislature to revisit that statutory sentencing scheme to determine whether it serves an appropriate purpose."

The full opinion by Chief Justice Moore is available at this link.

September 13, 2015 at 05:15 PM | Permalink


He should have been executed at 14. The judge is supporting a career criminal.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 13, 2015 7:07:58 PM

Doug, I continue to be puzzled at why judges don't take advantage of the decision by the US Sup Ct in Graham v Florida and the language which makes clear that grossly disproportionate sentences offend the Eighth Amendment as applied to the particular circumstances of the case. Graham also makes clear that "in accordance with the constitutional design" judges have the power to nullify a sentence.

One remedy that judges in North Carolina have done when they believe a sentence under the habitual felon law is grossly disproportionate is to strike the application of the habitual felon enhancement and resentence without the recidivism enhancement.

Why do judges not understand Marbury v Madison means what it says. just because the legislature does something does not make that piece of legislation valid.


Posted by: bruce cunningham | Sep 13, 2015 10:06:36 PM

This is the same Chief Justice Roy Moore who defied a federal court order to take down a monument to the 10 commandments that he had put up in the courthouse? Fascinating.

Posted by: elizabeth rapaport | Sep 14, 2015 9:17:58 AM

My response to Judge Moore would be to say that Mr. Brooker was already given at least one glimpse at what fate awaited him should he be caught continuing to engage in criminal activity, under those circumstances I simply cannot see LWOP being disproportionate, and indeed I would fully agree with SC on this topic.

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Posted by: Graff Oran | Dec 30, 2015 4:04:17 PM

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