Grant Clemency to Bernard Noble
My son Bernard is a 49-year-old father of seven, who was sentenced to 13.3 years in prison with hard labor and no possibility of parole after being convicted for possession of 2.8 grams of marijuana – the equivalent of two marijuana cigarettes — in a parish prison in Louisiana.
In 2011, Bernard was riding a bike in New Orleans when police officers stopped him and discovered the 2.8 grams of marijuana. Due to two, decades-old prior drug convictions, he was charged under the state’s habitual offender law and faced a mandatory sentence of thirteen and one-third years.
Bernard’s trial judge considered the thirteen years “constitutionally excessive” and used his power to reduce the sentence to 5 years. Unfortunately, that reduction was appealed three times by the Orleans Parish District Attorney and was then finally overturned by the State Supreme court. So Bernard must serve his full sentence.
My son is a father of seven children and he works hard to support them. His youngest child suffers from autism, and another of his young children suffers from rheumatoid arthritis for which there is no cure. To support them he started two businesses, a janitorial service and a restaurant. It breaks all of their hearts to know he could spend the next 13 years behind bars and away from them.
Bernard belongs with his family, not in prison over a small amount of marijuana.
The trial judge stated in his ruling that to impose the mandatory sentence “will be a greater punishment for his children than for himself,” and Bernard’s “particular circumstance is the rare exceptional situation and does not represent the type of individual contemplated by the legislature when assigning sentences.” There has been a groundswell of support from people in Louisiana and I know that if thousands of people sign this petition, it will help bring him home.
Please sign my petition to ask Governor John Bell Edwards to grant clemency to my son, Bernard Noble.