Drug War Casualty Gets Pardon

Tyrone Brown soon to be released from prison on terms of conditional pardon issued by Perry last week

Arguably Texas' best-known drug war casualty, Tyrone Brown, will soon be released from prison on the terms of a conditional pardon issued by Gov. Rick Perry last week. Brown was 17 years old when he took part in an armed robbery 17 years ago; no one was injured, and he was initially given probation for his role in the crime. When a drug test came back positive for marijuana, however, Brown's probation was revoked and Dallas County District Court Judge Keith Dean sentenced him to life in prison.

Dean's actions came into question after The Dallas Morning News reported that the judge's treatment of Brown was far different from his treatment of well-connected murderer John Alexander Wood, whom Dean allowed to stay on probation even after he repeatedly tested positive for cocaine use – Wood was even allowed to quit taking the drug tests.

The disparity in treatment – which Dean has, to date, declined to explain – prompted a grassroots campaign to free Brown. Finally, on March 9, with the support of the Board of Pardons and Paroles, the Dallas County district attorney's office, and Judge Dean, Perry granted Brown a conditional pardon, meaning Brown will have to meet several requirements – that he live with his mother, Nora; report to a parole officer; get a job; and see a therapist – in order to remain free. Perry declined to grant a full pardon, which the BPP reportedly recommended.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

war on drugs, Tyrone Brown, Rick Perry, Keith Dean, Board of Pardons and Paroles, drug war

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