New appeal filed in 12-year sentence for cellphone in jail


This is an undated Mississippi booking photo provided by Department of Corrections shows Willie Nash. . The Mississippi Supreme Court confirmed Nash’s 12-year prison sentence for carrying his mobile phone into a county jail cell, on Jan. 9, 2020. The ruling on the 2018 sentencing is being slammed by some people as a brutal example of racial injustice. (Mississippi Department of Corrections via AP)

A new appeal is challenging a Mississippi man’s 12-year prison sentence for having a mobile phone in a jail cell.

Papers filed Thursday say Willie Nash’s punishment is “grossly disproportionate.” The Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the sentence Jan. 9.

Nash is African American, and critics have slammed the case as an example of racial injustice.

An attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center says in the new appeal that Mississippi is one of only three states where such a harsh sentence would be possible.

He says research shows no cases of such a long sentence in the other states, Arkansas and Illinois.

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