Man jailed for life over $20 marijuana sale has been freed

A Louisiana man who was arrested and sentenced to life for selling $20 in marijuana to undercover officers when he was homeless is now free

WWL-TV reported that Fate Winslow was released from Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola on Wednesday and was on his way back home after serving 12 years of a life sentence.

“I was so happy to get out,” Winslow told WWL-TV after his release. “A life sentence for two bags of weed? I never thought something like that could happen.”

Winslow was sentenced under the state's repeat offender law. His case has garnered attention as the Louisiana wrestles with criminal justice issues and overincarceration.

Winslow had already been convicted of three previous non-violent crimes stretching from when he was a 17-year-old to when he was 36, making him susceptible to the state's repeat offender law.

The Innocence Project New Orleans took up his case, appealing his life sentence on the grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel. He was eventually re-sentenced to time served. The director of the Innocence Project New Orleans, Jee Park, said Winslow received an “obscenely excessive sentence given his life circumstances and crime, and today, we are correcting that unconstitutional, inhumane sentence.”