NEW ORLEANS - A Black man whose life sentence for stealing a set of hedge clippers in a 1997 burglary drew scathing criticism from the chief justice of Louisiana’s Supreme Court was granted parole Thursday.
The 3-0 vote during an online meeting of the Committee on Parole means freedom, with conditions, for Fair Wayne Bryant.
Louisiana’s Supreme Court had denied release for Bryant, 63, earlier this year for the burglary from a carport storage room.
The case drew national attention for a dissent by Chief Justice Bernette Johnson, the high court's only Black justice. She said the habitual offender law under which Bryant was sentenced was a “modern manifestation” of Jim Crow era laws aimed at jailing Black people for simple crime.
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Conditions of Bryant’s parole include mandatory attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, a 9 p.m. curfew and community service. He is to first enter a program in Baton Rouge with the Louisiana Parole Project, a nonprofit that helps released prisoners adjust to freedom. He will eventually live with his brother in Shreveport.