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High Court Rejects Appeal Over Stiff Marijuana Sentence

Emily Cegielski

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has turned away an appeal from a 76-year-old Alabama man who was sentenced to life in prison without parole for possessing less than three pounds of marijuana that he said he grew for personal use.

Lawyers for Lee Carroll Brooker said the stiff sentence under the state's habitual offender law violates the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

But the justices on Monday let stand a ruling from the Alabama Supreme Court upholding the sentence. Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore had written separately in the opinion last year to say the sentence for a non-violent drug offense shows "grave flaws" in Alabama's sentencing system.

The Alabama Attorney General's office said the sentence was based on Brooker's history of prior convictions including armed robberies and drug smuggling.

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