Jay-Z is fighting for the release of one of his fans who is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence over marijuana charges. According to reports, Hov’s legal team has made a plea to a North Carolina judge asking for the “compassionate release” of Valon Vailes.
Jay, who launched his very own cannabis line in October 2020, reportedly came in contact with Vailes back in February after the inmate wrote a letter pleading for the rapper’s help while expressing his admiration for his career and advocacy work. Vailes, who was found guilty in 2007 of conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute more than one ton of marijuana, wrote:
“This correspondence is a plea to ask for your help with the intent to campaign for my clemency. 13 and a half years is a long time to be still incarcerated over a substance that has become the ultimate green rush.”
Attorney Alex Spiro from Jay’s team filed a second motion, asking the court to reconsider their previous request, which was dismissed due to Vailes’ COVID-19 vaccination record. Court documents show that Spiro argued:
“Mr. Vailes’ motion for compassionate release does not mention COVID-19 and does not rely on any COVID-19-related argument as a basis for arguing in favor of a reduced sentence. Mr. Vailes is not a danger to the community. He is the sole available caretaker for his mentally ill brother whom is in desperate need of Mr. Vailes’ support. 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.”
Vailes revealed in his impassioned letter that as the sole breadwinner of his family, they are in dire need of his support right now, writing:
“My mother passed in 2020; my grandmother in 2009; my nephew in 2020. Also, my best friend died from COVID in 2021. I have four children, the youngest is 1.4, and 3 grand-daughters. It is a bittersweet reality that I am a casualty and a commodity of this system filled with injustice.”
Jay-Z has yet to publicly speak on the matter; however, there is a Change.Org petition advocating for Vailes’ release. The petition has nearly 2,000 signatures as of Wednesday, September 29. Click the link above if you want to be apart of the change.