Comparing the Sentences of Lee Carroll Brooker and Brock Turner-Mostly Truth!
Summary of eRumor:
After Stanford swimmer Brock Turner was sentenced to six months in jail for rape, his sentence was compared to that of Lee Carroll Brooker, who was given a life sentence for growing marijuana.
Claims about the sentences of Lee Carroll Brooker and Brock Turner are mostly true — but important details about Brooker’s sentence have been excluded.
Shortly after Brock Turner was sentenced to six months in jail for the rape of an unconscious girl behind a dumpster, his sentence was compared to that of Lee Carroll Brooker on social media to argue the unfairness of Turner’s sentence.
Viral posts state that Lee Carroll Brooker was given a “life sentence” for growing three marijuana plants and that Brock Turner was given just six months for rape.
Those comparisons are mostly true — but outside factors contributed to Lee Carroll Brooker’s life sentence. He was previously convicted of two armed robberies in Florida and served 10 years in prison.
In 2011, when he was arrested in Alabama for growing marijuana, the judge was forced to sentence him to life in prison because of Alabama laws pertaining to sentencing guidelines for convicted felons, the New York Times reports:
Lee Carroll Brooker, a 75-year-old disabled veteran suffering from chronic pain, was arrested in July 2011 for growing three dozen marijuana plants for his own medicinal use behind his son’s house in Dothan, Ala., where he lived. For this crime, Mr. Brooker was given a life sentence with no possibility of release.
Alabama law mandates that anyone with certain prior felony convictions be sentenced to life without parole for possessing more than 1 kilogram, or 2.2 pounds, of marijuana, regardless of intent to sell. Mr. Brooker had been convicted of armed robberies in Florida two decades earlier, for which he served 10 years. The marijuana plants collected at his son’s house — including unusable parts like vines and stalks — weighed 2.8 pounds.
At his sentencing, the trial judge told Mr. Brooker that if he “could sentence you to a term that is less than life without parole, I would.” Last year, Roy Moore, chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court,called Mr. Brooker’s sentence “excessive and unjustified,” and said it revealed “grave flaws” in the state’s sentencing laws, but the court still upheld the punishment.
That’s not to say that the sentences of either Lee Carroll Brooker or Brock Turner were fair. However, Brooker’s sentence was handed down in light of his previous felony convictions in addition to growing marijuana. That’s why we’re calling this one “mostly truth.”