Winslow, recently homeless at the time, borrowed a friend’s bike and came back 10 minutes later with two small bags of marijuana worth $20, according to the Innocence Project New Orleans, who represented Winslow.
On Wednesday, Winslow walked free after his case was resentenced for 12 years, with credit for time already served.
His case highlights the issues within the criminal justice system, IPNO said in a statement.
“There are hundreds of individuals serving life sentences for nonviolent crimes in Louisiana,” said Jee Park, Winslow’s attorney and the executive director of IPNO. “Instead of throwing the book at Mr. Winslow and sentencing him to life imprisonment just because we could, does not mean that was constitutional, legal and humane. He received an obscenely excessive sentence given his life circumstances and crime, and today, we are correcting that unconstitutional, inhumane sentence.”
The District Attorney’s office, according to the IPNO, agreed that Winslow did not receive effective counsel at his original sentencing. The office has agreed to the relief sought by Winslow in his Application for Postconviction Relief, the IPNO said.
CNN reached out to the Caddo Parish District Attorney’s Office but has not received a response.
“My dad and I got closer while he was imprisoned,” Faith Winslow Canada, Winslow’s daughter, said in a statement. “I cannot wait to have my dad back fully in my life. Twelve years is a long time. Too long. He deserves a second chance and I am so glad he is getting one.”