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Man who was sentenced to life in prison for selling $30 of marijuana will be freed

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Posted at 10:32 AM, Aug 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-10 11:32:49-04

ABBEVILLE, LA — A man who has been serving life in prison over a $30 marijuana sale is set to walk free.

Prosecutors in Louisiana agreed to release Derek Harris after he served nine years in prison.

"We've held onto the faith that you know someday that things would be right," said his brother Antoine Harris.

It's been almost a decade since Antoine has seen his little brother.

Derek Harris was sentenced to life in state prison without parole over a $30 marijuana sale in 2012.

Although Harris doesn't deny his brother's wrong doing, he does believe he didn't have a fair sentencing.

"His attorney at the time was just silent never once appealed it or said I don't agree with it or anything. He was virtually just quiet. So his counsel was ineffective and the Supreme Court ruled that that he did have ineffective counsel," said Antoine.

The Louisiana Supreme Court granted Harris a new hearing last month, and his legal team argued that his first attorney failed him by not challenging the sentence.

Upon Derek's release, he'll be moving to Kentucky with his brother.

"For him, he's still a little bit...all shocked about all of this because we've been working at this for a long time trying to obtain his freedom and now finally it's here so it's a bit overwhelming for him as well as us," Antoine said.

Derek Harris remains in Angola State Prison currently as his release date is pending.