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New Orleans - Man Faces Life In Prison For Stealing $31 Worth Of Candy

Published on: April 4, 2016 09:45 PM
By: AP
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New Orleans - A Louisiana man accused of stuffing $31 worth of candy bars into his pockets faces a possible sentence of 20 years to life in prison, prompting a judge to question whether the sentence was “over the top.”

Orleans Parish prosecutors chose to charge Jacobia Grimes, 34, under a statute that boosts the alleged candy theft to a felony. The law applies to people who have been convicted of “theft of goods” at least twice. Grimes has five prior theft convictions, making him a “quad” offender under the state’s habitual-offender law.

Grimes, 34, pleaded not guilty Thursday, The New Orleans Advocate (http://bit.ly/1SIUcWm) reported.

The possible sentence raised questions with Judge Franz Zibilich, who was overseeing Grimes’ arraignment last week.

“Isn’t this a little over the top?” Zibilich said. “Twenty years to life for a Snickers bar, or two or three or four.”

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Grimes’ attorneys, Miles Swanson and Michael Kennedy, said his prior guilty pleas were for similar shoplifting attempts, including stealing from a Rite-Aid, Save-A-Center, Blockbuster Video, and Rouses grocery stores.

Swanson said all the thefts were for less than $500 worth of items. The last theft of socks and trousers from a Dollar General store got him a four-year sentence in 2010.

One of his lawyers said he could have been charged under a different statute than the habitual-offender law.

“They’re spending their time to lock someone up for years over $31 worth of candy,” Swanson said.

Grimes also faces a charge of drug paraphernalia possession. He is currently free on $5,000 bond, court records show. His lawyers say he has a heroin problem. Grimes also has convictions for possession with intent to sell fake drugs and obscenity, a crime committed while he was behind bars, the newspaper reported.

Christopher Bowman, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, would not comment on the specifics of Grimes’ case, citing office policy. He emphasized that the alleged crime was considered a felony by the state.

The case appears to be an extreme example of a widespread practice in Louisiana, which criminal justice reform advocates say has one of the toughest habitual-offender laws in the country, the newspaper reported.



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Read Comments (18)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Apr 04, 2016 at 09:57 PM ayinglefunadorf Says:

$31 worth of candy=20 years of jail = about 1 million of taxpayers Money. Let him keep the candy and we save $ 999.970.00

2

 Apr 04, 2016 at 09:59 PM Boochie Says:

It's funny how all of a sudden they down play this .....the guy is a good for nothing crook

When he is old and grey let him out

3

 Apr 04, 2016 at 11:32 PM Anonymous Says:

The world was destroyed during the flood because of people stealing. Even though it's a small sum he stole, it reflects on his lack of respect for society. But it would benefit society more if he could somehow work to repay for what he stole and to send him to dig rehab.

4

 Apr 05, 2016 at 01:01 AM Sam23 Says:

This is crazy. The whole system needs to be reformed including the part that prosecutors are motivated by a high conviction score, rather then coomon senses justice.

5

 Apr 05, 2016 at 01:30 AM ayoyo Says:

It would be cheaper to enroll him in a good school with supervision to learn a trade so that he could buy what he wants and get a good feeling for himself.

6

 Apr 05, 2016 at 02:46 AM Do the Math!! Says:

Totally ridiculous. How much will it cost to keep in in jail for 20 years?

7

 Apr 05, 2016 at 03:48 AM Normal Says:

And how many millions of dollars will it cost tax payers who don't really care about the $31.

8

 Apr 05, 2016 at 07:13 AM Chaim Says:

To all the law and order tough guys above who think the sentence would be just fine -- why do I know that if a frum Yid stole some inexpensive merchandise - -even if he had a history of stealing inexpensive merchandise -- you'd be crying and shokeling and screaming about what a shandah it is that under American law such relatively harmless acts could bring such a draconian judgment? As a matter of fact, so many on this site have screamed bloody murder when a frum Yid is sentenced to serious time for committing crimes far worse than what this fellow is accused of. The stinking hypocrisy among so many frum Jews is so blatant, as is the double standards and racism. And we hold ourselves up as paragons of spirituality and virtue. Ha!

9

 Apr 05, 2016 at 09:28 AM yonasonw Says:

Reply to #2  
Boochie Says:

It's funny how all of a sudden they down play this .....the guy is a good for nothing crook

When he is old and grey let him out

You can't be real...I say this as a law enforcement attorney with a specialty in corrections.

This is more lopsided than the Rubashkin case...oh, but Rubashkin's a Yid who stole millions by fraud from financial institutions...so he's really ok...I get it...this poor fellow is merely a poor schvartze with mental health problems who stole candy.

Someone should put you in a secure cell block for a few hours.

10

 Apr 05, 2016 at 10:58 AM MyThreeCents Says:

l agree with #3, l Sodom they were filled with "chomoss" stealing insignificant amounts. It would be better to let him work off his debts and pay everything back that he stole and he also do community service.

11

 Apr 05, 2016 at 11:02 AM BuckyinWisconsin Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

The world was destroyed during the flood because of people stealing. Even though it's a small sum he stole, it reflects on his lack of respect for society. But it would benefit society more if he could somehow work to repay for what he stole and to send him to dig rehab.

I thought it was because of human relations with animals and same gender relations...

12

 Apr 05, 2016 at 11:07 AM skeptic Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

The world was destroyed during the flood because of people stealing. Even though it's a small sum he stole, it reflects on his lack of respect for society. But it would benefit society more if he could somehow work to repay for what he stole and to send him to dig rehab.

Since there was no global flood, your argument has no merit. Having said that, people who steal candy should not spend the rest of their lives in jail, regardless of how many times they are caught stealing candy.

13

 Apr 05, 2016 at 11:34 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #9  
yonasonw Says:

You can't be real...I say this as a law enforcement attorney with a specialty in corrections.

This is more lopsided than the Rubashkin case...oh, but Rubashkin's a Yid who stole millions by fraud from financial institutions...so he's really ok...I get it...this poor fellow is merely a poor schvartze with mental health problems who stole candy.

Someone should put you in a secure cell block for a few hours.

You were doing ok until you mentioned Rubashkin and, from what you wrote it's very obvious you're pretty ignorant about the entire Rubashkin affair, so please stick to candy bars!

14

 Apr 05, 2016 at 12:40 PM RocklandRes Says:

Some real attention to decent child care, mental health and drug addiction would go a long way in this country.

15

 Apr 05, 2016 at 09:30 PM PaulinSaudi Says:

#14, as I understand it, the local town or county cuts back on child care, slashes social work programs, let drug addiction go, encourages more drinking and whatnot. When someone messes up his life because of all this, they lock him up in the state penitentiary. So the local government washes its hand of the expense of locking him up. They just mess up lives and then pass the cost to the state.

16

 Apr 06, 2016 at 09:47 AM RocklandRes Says:

Reply to #15  
PaulinSaudi Says:

#14, as I understand it, the local town or county cuts back on child care, slashes social work programs, let drug addiction go, encourages more drinking and whatnot. When someone messes up his life because of all this, they lock him up in the state penitentiary. So the local government washes its hand of the expense of locking him up. They just mess up lives and then pass the cost to the state.

Bingo

17

 Apr 06, 2016 at 11:26 AM yonasonw Says:

Reply to #13  
Anonymous Says:

You were doing ok until you mentioned Rubashkin and, from what you wrote it's very obvious you're pretty ignorant about the entire Rubashkin affair, so please stick to candy bars!

Excuse me...you need to chill a bit fella.

27 years for Rubashkin's fraud is out of proportion...but life for petty theft is not worse?

Furthermore, in Rubashkin's case we are dealing with serious allegations of prosecutorial and judicial misconduct, allegations that if shown to be true will be sanctioned by the legal system...and which would get Rubashkin a new sentencing hearing.

In the Grimes case, however, we are faced with de jure sentencing guidelines that specifically mandate a life sentence...the system is what's doing it to him.

18

 Apr 06, 2016 at 12:23 PM yonasonw Says:

Reply to #14  
RocklandRes Says:

Some real attention to decent child care, mental health and drug addiction would go a long way in this country.

The Grimes case illustrates well an often repeated truism in corrections...that the biggest unkept secret in our business is the overwhelming degree of serious mental illness in prison populations.

But our priorities and our budgets are driven by elected legislators and governors, politicians who often run on "tough on crime" platforms, but who know little or nothing about correctional criminology...they do so because they, in turn, cater to all sorts of tough guy voters (like many on VIN) who ignorantly or angrily fall all over themselves voting for the toughest SOB on the block.

So ever since the early 80s, it's been good bye to more and more of the therapeutic, recreational and social programs in prisons that do more to address the criminal population than doesall the "law and order" hardball.

Where I am, several years ago we had to fight accusations of "coddling" inmates when we insisted that a new medium security facility would be fully air conditioned. It is, in fact, a security issue...one does not want inmates in overheated cell blocks on a hot August afternoon...it breeds trouble. But tell that to the conservative politicians...and their right wing voters.

19

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