When we first learned about Christopher Dugger, 54, he had served 16 years in a Georgia prison on a sentence of life without parole for selling $75 worth of crack cocaine to a narcotics agent. Dugger had 3 prior felony convictions, but none involved violent offenses. All were connected to his addiction to crack cocaine, and he served his sentences in full for those prior convictions.
The judge was upset that Dugger had not cured his addiction and sentenced him to life without parole. Sixteen years later, the lawyers at the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta heard about his case, and with support from the DKT Liberty Project, they worked to get Duggar out of jail. Lawyers examined similar cases throughout Georgia and studied patterns of sentencing in the county in which he was convicted. The review indicated that Dugger’s sentence exceeded others for similar crimes.
They brought this information to the District Attorney and subsequently to a judge in open court. The judge ordered that Dugger’s sentence be vacated and resentenced him to time served in the amount of 16 years, 6 months, and 28 days, as well as probation for 13 ½ years. Upon his release, he stayed at his parents’ house and had a job interview the next day.
Both the Southern Center for Human Rights and the DKT Liberty Project feel that cases like Mr. Dugger’s — where an individual is serving an excessive sentence — are clearly a miscarriage of justice. We salute the Southern Center for its outstanding work.