Jay-Z fighting Release of Man Who is Serving 20 years in Prison Over Marijuana

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Jay-Z and his Roc Nation legal team are working towards freeing a Black man who was unfairly sentenced to 20-years in prison for a weed charge.

In August, Hov’s attorney, Alex Spiro, filed a motion in a North Carolina court requesting the “compassionate release” of inmate Valon Vailes. In 2007, the man received 20 years in federal prison and ten years of supervised release after being found guilty of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute more than one ton of marijuana between 2003 and 2007. This week, Spiro filed a second request for the man’s release.

Vailes was placed on Jay’s radar after penning a letter to the music mogul earlier this year, where he praised the “4:44” rapper for his prison reform efforts. He took the opportunity to ask for help after being incarcerated for 13 and a half years at that point for a substance that he says has become a “green rush.” Touched by his fan’s story, Jay gathered up his legal team and employees of his marijuana company to push for the man’s freedom.

The COVID-19 exceptions were not cited in Spiro’s most recent motion as justifications for the release. Instead, he explained that Vailes was not a danger to society and that he needed to be at home to care for his mentally ill brother, for whom he is the only available caregiver.

“It is unjust to allow Mr. Vailes to remain in prison when, if sentenced under the current law, and with his good behavior credits, he would have already been released,” read the second filing.

A petition also advocating for Vailes’ release stood at over 2,000 signatures as of Wednesday evening.