Freed June 8, 2023

Incarcerated 16 years, 1 months, 1 day

Bobby Wallace served 16 years of a life sentence for possession of cocaine. Police found cocaine under a couch cushion in someone else’s house—Mr. Wallace happened to be in the home, and he was arrested and prosecuted for the cocaine, as was everyone else who was in the house. There was so little proof tying him to the cocaine that the members of the jury could not agree on whether or not he should be convicted. But in Louisiana, a non-unanimous vote was enough to send him away for life.

Mr. Wallace’s case was one of the first that the Unjust Punishment Project took up because his sentence was excessive based on the crime and unfair based on the evidence against him. Despite the injustice of his situation, Mr. Wallace earned multiple vocational trades, worked in the prison library, mentored others, and became a trustee. He plans to use the skills he learned in prison to work at a flooring company and will volunteer at a youth organization in the neighborhood he grew up in.

Louisiana’s racist and unjust sentencing laws keep talented, intelligent, giving, hardworking people locked away when they might otherwise be living well in the world and working to help their communities. Bobby Wallace should have been home a long time ago, and we are thrilled that he finally is.

Bobby is the 60th person IPNO has freed since 2001.