A man has been imprisoned for decades after a marijuana sale. The state's top attorney says it's time he's releasedPosted by On

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With now an army of supporters behind him pushing for a commuted sentence — including Michigan’s attorney general — Thompson’s family hopes he could be a free man sooner than that. It will give him the chance to spend time with the grandchildren and great-grandchildren he’s never met, his daughter says.

But Thompson was transferred to a medical facility after testing positive for coronavirus earlier this month and suffers from diabetes and other health conditions that his daughter fears could take away her father’s chance to return home.

“I don’t want it to be a call that comes through and they say it was too late,” Rashawnda Littles said. “Covid don’t have a grace period.”

A photo of Michael Thompson from the Michigan Department of Corrections.
Thompson’s attorney, Kimberly Corral, has filed a petition for clemency and this week, the state’s parole board is set to kick off the process leading up to its recommendation, the attorney’s office said. That recommendation will land on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s desk, who will have the final say on Thompson’s case. A previous petition was denied by then-Gov. Rick Snyder in 2018 — the same year recreational marijuana was legalized in Michigan.
Hundreds of advocates are on Thompson’s side and have called for an earlier release in the past, including Chelsea Handler, Shaun King, Ava DuVernay and Kim Kardashian, who wrote a letter in support of a commutation. Many have pointed to his exemplary record in prison and argued Thompson never committed any violent crimes or ever posed a threat to his community.

“This case represents everything that’s wrong with our criminal justice system. We have a Black American who has been sentenced to an absolutely ridiculous sentence, a disproportionate sentence,” said Joseph Patituce, a managing partner of the firm representing Thompson.

“Today, his sentence is a sentence that’s reserved for the worst of the worst.”

‘We don’t see sentences like that typically any more’

The sentence Thompson is serving stems from a marijuana sale, according to the clemency petition provided to CNN by Thompson’s attorneys.

Thompson sold about three pounds of marijuana to a police informant and when authorities searched his home, they found 14 weapons, according to the petition. Nine of the weapons, which included antiques, were inside a locked gun safe and Thompson’s wife testified at trial that most of the guns were hers, the petition states.

A man who was sentenced to life in prison for selling $30 of marijuana will be freed

Because of his previous felony drug convictions, the judge handed Thompson up to 15 years for each of the three drug charges and a staggering 42 to 60 years for firearm possession charges.

“The sentence imposed on Mr. Thompson is the product of a different time in Michigan legal history,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel wrote in an August 5 letter to the governor. “And it is a time that has passed.”

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