Friday, April 1, 2016

$ 31 in shoplifted Chocolate Bars could mean life in prison

A man is facing life in prison after allegedly stuffing his pockets with chocolate bars worth $31. Jacobia Grimes, who has five prior convictions for petty theft, is to be charged by prosecutors under Louisiana’s ‘habitual offender law’.

The law, which has been in place for three decades, means that the 34-year-old could potentially go to prison for 20 years to life.

On February 3, his crime was boosted to the status of a felony deserving of two years’ incarceration.
Grimes is a career shoplifter and has already spent nine years in prison for his previous convictions. State law allows the system more leeway if a man has been convicted of “theft of goods” at least twice before.

In this case the number of times is five. This in turn qualifies Grimes for 20 years to life, as a “habitual offender.” The issue with the ‘multiple bill’ legal tactic taken up by the prosecution leaves almost no discretion to the judge, and almost certainly means a very severe sentence in Louisiana.
Grimes would have been charged with multiple misdemeanor elsewhere in the US. It was reported that Louisiana’s incarceration rate is ‘nearly five times Iran’s, 13 times China’s and 20 times Germany’s.’

Grimes’ attorneys believe the statute is “ridiculous” and that it is “unconscionably excessive to threaten someone with 20 years to life for candy.” The DA’s office declined to comment on the specifics of the case.

Most prison facilities in Louisiana are 'for-profit'.