Free Quierza! Sentenced to Life w/o Parole at Hard Labor for a Non-Violent Drug Conviction

Free Quierza! Sentenced to Life w/o Parole at Hard Labor for a Non-Violent Drug Conviction

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Caeli Higgins started this petition to Louisiana Governor and

We need to raise $3800 to pay the remaining balance for Quierza’s attorney and move forward with the fight for his freedom! https://www.gofundme.com/f/serving-life-for-a-nonviolent-drug-conviction

My friend Quierza Lewis is the only person to ever receive a life sentence for a non-violent drug offense in Webster Parish, Louisiana.

Following a tip, police searched Lewis’s girlfriend’s car, in which they found scales and 350 grams of crack cocaine zipped inside her purse. No drugs or paraphernalia were ever found on Lewis or in his home.

Police returned to the residence that had been under surveillance, where they found a plastic bag containing cocaine residue and items prosecutors said could be used in the manufacturing of crack cocaine (a Pyrex dish, a box of baking soda, and a whisk).

Lewis chose to go to trial to fight the charges against him.

His three co-defendants—including his girlfriend—testified against him in exchange for dismissal or reduction of the charges against them. Lewis was convicted at trial of distribution of more than 28 grams but less than 200 grams of cocaine.

He calls his family every other day, and says he is deeply pained by the prospect of never reuniting with them outside prison walls.  Lewis’s 79-year-old father, Willie, cries every time he visits his son, and he sobs when he talks about him. “I go down there and see him. I can’t hardly stand it, leaving, but I know I have to go,” he said.

Read full story at ACLU Special Report. A Living Death: Life Without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses.

There is a staggering racial disparity in life-without-parole sentencing for nonviolent offenses. Although the Louisiana Department of Corrections did not provide offense-specific race data in response to an open records request filed by the ACLU, our documentation of almost half of the state‘s population of prisoners serving LWOP for nonviolent offenses reveals that 91.4 percent of such prisoners are black, a higher proportion than any other state for which data was available. Calculating with this same survey data, the ACLU finds that black people are 23 times more likely than whites to be sentenced to LWOP for a nonviolent crime in Louisiana. By comparison, the racial disparities documented in other states range from 18-to-1 in Oklahoma, 8-to-1 in Florida, and 6-to-1 in Mississippi.

As voters, citizens, taxpayers and bystanders, we as a society have inhumanely punished thousands of nonviolent people. Currently Washington DC and 30 states have compensation statutes for wrongfully convicted inmates. Congress’ recommended amount is $63,000 for each year served. On the other hand, overly sentenced victims who in many cases have suffered equally or worse typically receive $20 and a bus ticket if they are fortunate enough to ever be released.

Most of these inhumanely sentenced inmates don't remember the last time they were able to buy personal items or snacks from the commissary.  No donation is too small.

Quierza Lewis Gets Life for Small Amount of Cocaine

0 have signed. Let’s get to 10,000!
At 10,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to get a reaction from the decision maker!