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Accused Candy Shoplifter Faces Life in Prison

It was his 5th offense
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2016 11:41 AM CDT

(Newser) – A 34-year-old Louisiana man could spend the rest of his life in prison over his alleged shoplifting of $31 of candy, reports the Advocate. Jacobia Grimes is accused of trying to steal candy bars from a Dollar General, and his big problem is that he has five prior theft convictions on his record. Under the state's tough habitual offender law, that makes him eligible for a sentence of 20 years to life over the latest charge, and the Orleans Parish DA is taking full advantage. “Isn't this a little over the top?" asked the judge, who would have little discretion on the final sentence. "It's not even funny. Twenty years to life for a Snickers bar, or two or three or four.”

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A spokesman for the district attorney's office declined to comment on the specifics of the case, except to emphasize that the alleged shoplifting is considered a felony in the eyes of the state, reports AP. If the judge is right in considering the possible punishment too extreme, a post at Mic blames the "prison-industrial complex," and points to a 2012 investigation by the New Orleans Times-Picayune that dubbed Louisiana the "world's prison capital." The 2012 story included this line: "A majority of Louisiana inmates are housed in for-profit facilities, which must be supplied with a constant influx of human beings or a $182 million industry will go bankrupt." (Another high-profile shoplifting incident ended with a teenager's football tackle.)

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