CADDO PARISH, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The decision by the Louisiana Supreme Court not to review the case of a Caddo Parish man doing life in prison for attempting to steal hedge clippers is gaining national attention.
Last week the court declined last week to review Fair Wayne Bryant’s life sentence.
Bryant was convicted in 1997 for attempting to steal hedge clippers. His life sentence was sanctioned under the habitual offender law because of his four prior convictions.
According to court documents, his four previous convictions were:
- attempted armed robbery in 1979
- convicted of possession of stolen things in 1987
- attempted forgery of a check worth $150 in 1989
- simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling on March 19, 1992
‘Mr. Bryant’s incarceration has cost Louisiana taxpayers approximately $518,667. Arrested at 38, Mr. Bryant has already spent nearly 23 years in prison and is now over 60 years old. If he lives another 20 years, Louisiana taxpayers will have paid almost one million dollars to punish Mr. Bryant for his failed effort to steal a set of hedge clippers’ Chief Justice Bernette Johnson wrote in her dissent.
Johnson called Bryant’s sentence excessive and compared it to post Reconstruction-era laws, ‘designed to re-enslave African Americans.’
‘This man’s life sentence for a failed attempt to steal a set of hedge clippers is grossly out of proportion to the crime and serves no legitimate penal purpose’ wrote Chief Justice Johnson.
The court’s decision was first reported by The Lens, a nonprofit news site in New Orleans.