A man from Alabama who received a life sentence after stealing $50 from a bakery is scheduled to be released from prison after his case caught the attention of a judge.
58-year-old Alvin Kennard has been incarcerated for the past 36 years due to a conviction for first-degree robbery when he stole $50 from the Highland Bakery in Bessemer with a knife in hand.
In 1984, Alabama law included the Habitual Felony Offender Act, which determined that a fourth-time offender would be issued a lifetime sentence.
Kennard’s initial charges in 1979 included counts of first-degree burglary, and grand larceny, which were non-violent property crimes for which he was given a 3-year suspended sentence upon conviction.
Due to his priors and the Habitual Felony Offender Act, when Kennard went to court for the $50 bakery theft he was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without parole. He has remained in the William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility since his sentencing, which took place when Kennard was 22-years-old.
The Habitual Felony Offender Act is no longer recognized in Alabama, but Kennard remained in prison for over three decades before a judge spotted his case and decided to review the details. After assessing the information it was decided that Kennard was handed down a sentence that was believed to be extreme considering the crimes for which he had been convicted.
On August 28, Kennard appeared in front of the judge at the Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, and his attorney pointed out that with the laws currently recognized in Alabama, her client would have been eligible for parole in 1999.
With several friends and family members supporting him in the courtroom Kennard addressed the judge and expressed regret for what he had done and the desire for a chance to live an honest life.
The judge re-sentenced Kennard, who plans to live with his relatives and find a job, to time served, and as soon as the proper paperwork at the Department of Corrections is complete he will be issued his freedom from incarceration.
If you or someone you love is suspected of a crime, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.