It's official: Tyrone Brown, the man sentenced to life in prison for violating probation with a single marijuana cigarette, will be a free man.
ABC News' "20/20" documented this story in November 2006. Brown is African American, poor and without connections. His harsh sentence was contrasted with the mercy shown a white criminal who murdered someone, then repeatedly violated his parole with cocaine.
The privileged criminal, who was the son of a Baptist minister and the brother-in-law of a U.S. congressman, was never sent to jail, and now even his probation has been lifted.
Brown was involved in an armed robbery that yielded $2. He, too, was first sentenced to probation, but when he violated it just once with a marijuana joint, he was sentenced to life. He has served 17 years.
Both men were sentenced by the same judge, Keith Dean.
After the "20/20" report, Dallas voters ousted Dean from the bench, and Friday Tyrone Brown was granted a "conditional pardon" by Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
The pardon requires Brown to live with his mother, report to a parole officer, find a job and work with a therapist.
The governor's press secretary said those conditions are to help Brown to reintegrate into society. Brown could be freed as early as next week.