Ten years ago, the state of Alabama saw a change in the law that would have made it possible for Alvin Kennard to walk free, but nobody took the time to check whether he qualified for a resentencing.
In 1983, Alvin Kennard stole about $50. He was 22-years-old and desperate for money. He stole the money from Highlands Bakery in Bessemer, Alabama.
He was caught shortly after committing the crime, and convicted and sent to prison for his misdemeanor.
He has been serving that sentence for thirty-six years! Kennard admits that he committed the crime, but nobody was hurt and all he stole was $50.
Despite that, he was sentenced to life without parole. That seems an incredible price to pay for stealing $50.
It has taken 36 years for Kennard to gain his freedom from jail after committing a petty crime.
According to a reporter from CBS24, Kennard has been resentenced and granted time served by Circuit Judge David Carpenter. He can now enjoy freedom after his long-overdue release from prison.
Why Was He Sentenced To Life In Prison For A Petty Crime?
It does beg the question as to why a man had to serve such a long sentence for stealing a mere £50 when others have walked away after committing much more serious crimes. Since Kennard had been convicted, the laws in Alabama had changed.
He was convicted under the antiquated Habitual Felony Offender Act, and as such, judges were required to sentence repeat offenders to life imprisonment. Unfortunately, before the bakery robbery, Kennard had committed two burglaries and one count of grand larceny.
With the bakery robbery being his fourth transgression, the full force of the old law came into effect. He was duly sentenced to life in prison.
Then, at the beginning of the 2000s, judges were permitted to offer four-time offenders the chance of parole as part of a review of the old laws.
Unluckily for Kennard, the change in legislation was not backdated, so his case did not get an automatic review and consideration of parole.