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Family asks for 'mercy' for Flint man serving up to 60 years on marijuana conviction

Michigan Dept. of Corrections

Tuesday, family and supporters asked state officials to parole a Flint man who’s serving a potentially life sentence because of a 1990s marijuana conviction.

Michael Thompson was sentenced as a habitual offender after his conviction of selling three pounds of marijuana in 1994, his prison sentence exacerbated by his possession of firearms. 

Thompson fought back tears as he listened to a long line a speakers supporting his release from prison during a two-and-half hour long parole board hearing.

His daughter, Rashawnda Littles, called him “a great man” who deserves to meet his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley is Thompson’s nephew. During the hearing, Neeley said “justice” and “mercy” need to take place in his uncle’s case.

In a letter to the parole board, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel calls Thompson’s sentence “from a different time,” adding “that time has passed.”

Thompson’s case has drawn the attention of marijuana advocates across the state of Michigan and across the country. The group, Last Prisoner Project, has been a leading advocate for Thompson’s release.

It’s unclear when the parole board may recommend to the governor whether or not to commute Thompson’s sentence and let him walk free.

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Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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