Petition for review pending before U.S. Supreme Court, questions fairness of mandatory life sentences for non-violent marijuana offenders
Halscott Megaro PA (N/A:N/A)
— Patrick Megaro, Defense Lawyer
ORLANDO, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES, October 8, 2018 /EINPresswire.com/ — As of October 8, 2018, over 70,000 people have signed a petition requesting that Corvain Cooper be released from prison. He has been sentenced to life in prison for non-violent marijuana offenses under the “Three Strikes” law.
Currently, the U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether to hear Cooper’s appeal (the procedure is called “grant a writ of certiorari”). The petition was filed by his attorney Patrick M. Megaro, who is doing all the work pro bono (as service to the community). The procedure before the Court is that the petition is being distributed and reviewed among the Supreme Court Justices. Each of the Justices of the Supreme Court receives a copy of the petition. The Justices will then decide whether to grant the petition and agree to hear the appeal, or not.
Many people support Corvain Cooper. His lawyer Patrick Megaro created a petition that over 70,000 people have signed. See https://www.change.org/p/donald-trump-release-corvain-cooper-from-life-imprisonment-without-parole-for-marijuana
Attorney Megaro has simultaneously petitioned President Donald Trump for executive clemency and commutation of his sentence of life imprisonment without parole.
Mr. Megaro explains: “This is a particular disturbing case, and I felt compelled to help Cooper and his family. He has two little daughters who miss him dearly. This case has broader implications, it is estimated that there are about 2,000 people … men and women, fathers and mothers, in prison for life for non-violent drug offenses, oftentimes involving very small amounts of such substances. This punishment does not fit the crime. Marijuana is now legalized, decriminalized, or approved for medicinal use in one form or another in the majority of States. Fundamental fairness is at the heart of this case.”
The background is as follows. Corvain Cooper was charged in the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina with conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana, and conspiracy to commit money laundering and structuring transactions. A special information was also filed against Cooper, alleging two prior felony convictions for possession of drugs (one for marijuana, one for codeine cough syrup) in the California state courts. The filing triggered a mandatory life sentence without parole. The reason for the unusually harsh sentence is the so-called “Three Strikes” law. These laws require a person guilty of committing a drug felony and two other previous drug felony convictions to serve a mandatory life sentence in prison. The “Three Strikes” law significantly increases the prison sentences of persons convicted of a felony who have been previously convicted of two or more violent crimes or drug felonies, and limits the ability of these offenders to receive a punishment other than a life sentence.
Cooper tried appealing his conviction and sentence, arguing that the sentence of life for non-violent crimes was against his Eighth Amendment (Amendment VIII) of the United States Constitution which prohibits the federal government from imposing excessive bail, excessive fines, or cruel and unusual punishments. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld the case.
The State of California enacted Proposition 47 in 2014, which re-categorized several non-violent offenses as misdemeanors. Prior to enacting Proposition 47, possession of marijuana was considered a felony. This also allowed people who had prior felony convictions under the old statute to vacate them.
Proposition 64 (the Adult Use of Marijuana Act) was enacted on November 9, 2016, by the State of California which legalized the use of recreational marijuana. This Act permitted certain people who had been convicted of marijuana felony offenses to apply to vacate those convictions and reclassify them as misdemeanors.
“I have been representing Mr. Cooper and I have said from day one that I am in this fight to help Corvain Cooper no matter how long it takes,” comments his attorney Patrick Megaro.
About the Corvain Cooper Case
According to a press release of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, “from in or about 2004 through January 2013, Cooper was involved in a drug conspiracy that trafficked marijuana from California to the Charlotte area. Court records show that Cooper was charged with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute at least one thousand kilograms of marijuana as well as money laundering conspiracy and structuring financial transactions through banking institutions to avoid IRS reporting requirements. Cooper, along with two co-defendants, Evelyn LaChapelle and Natalia Wade, were convicted of all charges on October 18, 2013, following a three-day trial.” He was sentenced to life in prison on June 18, 2014. See https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdnc/pr/california-drug-trafficker-sentenced-life-prison-drug-conspiracy-and-related-charges
A link to the online Supreme Court docket can be found at
Join the other supporters of Corvain Cooper who have signed the petition at:
Halscott Megaro, P.A.
email us here
Three strikes law, Patrick Megaro Criminal Defense Attorney, Orlando
Powered by WPeMatico