The Clemency Report named Leland J. Dodd, a nonviolent marijuana offender serving life without parole since 1991, as the Oklahoma inmate most deserving of clemency,
Dodd, 60, is believed to be the longest serving of 49 prisoners now doing life without parole in Oklahoma for a nonviolent drug offenses.
Read a description of Leland's case and see how he has aged over his years in prison.
The American Civil Liberties Union report, A Living Death: Life Without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses, described his case:
Dodd believes he is the first prisoner to be sentenced to mandatory LWOP for a nonviolent drug crime under Oklahoma’s habitual offender law. He was sentenced to LWOP in 1991 for, as he puts it, “talking about buying some marijuana.” Dodd is the father of three children, and prior to his incarceration he worked as a trim carpenter. He tried to buy 50 pounds of marijuana from an undercover police officer posing as a seller, and he was arrested before the sale was concluded. He was convicted in February 1991 of conspiracy to traffic in marijuana and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. He was sentenced to a mandatory life-without parole sentence because of his four prior drug felonies dating back to 1978, which included convictions for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of an unlicensed firearm he made from a kit he bought at a gun show. Under the sentencing guidelines, based on his prior offenses, his sentence would have been 13.5 years.
Now 59, Dodd has served 22 years of his sentence. Since his incarceration, he has divorced from his wife of 17 years. He told the ACLU, “I don’t see the point, I mean I don’t even smoke weed anymore. What’s the threat here? When I was on the street, I went fishing and I smoked joints…I wasn’t hurting anyone.”
Leland's aging has been documented by photographs taken by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.