How 101 Feet Added 10 Years to My Husband's Sentence
Had Terrance Davis been 101 feet further from the school, he wouldn't have had that tacked on
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2017 12:25 PM CST
Terrance and Joi Davis.   (

(Newser) – Joi Davis' husband was arrested for selling cocaine from their Nashville apartment in 2003, and she sees part of his punishment as entirely unjust. That's because had he sold it 101 feet away from where he did—"in an apartment down the hall, for example"—his 22-years-without-parole sentence would have been 10 years lighter and included the possibility of parole after 4 years. In a piece for the Tennessean, she writes that Terrance Davis got caught up in what she sees as a draconian mandatory sentence related to drug-free school zones. She explains the gated apartment community they lived in at the time of the then-24-year-old's crime sat 900 feet from a school and within the law's 1,000-foot zone. "It did not matter that the school was not open. It did not matter that Terrance was inside his own home, with no children around."

What mattered was solely his proximity to a school, and it will cost him a decade of his life. Joi Davis writes that she herself is an educator, and that protection of our children is paramount. But a law that was intended to severely punish those caught selling drugs to children catches others in its net unfairly, she argues. Yes, Terrance should suffer consequences for his actions, but "he wasn't a kingpin or targeting kids. He was a guy who grew up in a small town, with not much opportunity, let alone a 'career path.' I’m not excusing what he did. But ... rapists and murderers get less time." And so she's pushing for a reform to the laws. "We can protect kids from drugs without sentences that upend families for decades." Read her full piece here.

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