A Black Louisiana man will spend the rest of his life in prison for stealing hedge clippers.
Fair Wayne Bryant, 62, was convicted on one count of attempted simple burglary. Last week, the state Supreme Court disagreed with five justices to uphold the life sentence. The lone dissenter was Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson, who is the only female and Black person on the court.
Bryant was convicted in 1979 for attempted armed robbery, in 1987 for possession of stolen things, attempted forgery of a check worth $150 in 1989 and for simple burglary in 1992, all before his 1997 arrest for the failed attempt at stealing the hedge clippers.
Johnson's 23 years in prison, cost Louisiana taxpayers over $500,000.
"If he lives another 20 years, Louisiana taxpayers will have paid almost one million dollars to punish Mr. Bryant for his failed effort to steal a set of hedge clippers," Chief Justice Bernette Johnson wrote. "This man's life sentence for a failed attempt to steal a set of 3 hedge clippers is grossly out of proportion to the crime and serves no legitimate penal purpose."
While Johnson said she would grant the appeal, five justices denied it and one abstained.
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