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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An online petition is asking Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves to release a Memphis woman who was sentenced to life in prison for possessing around two ounces of marijuana.

Tameca Drummer has spent the last 12 years in Mississippi prison following a 2006 arrest.
She and her sister, Charisma Warren, were visiting family in Corinth when Warren says they were pulled over and police discovered the marijuana. At the time, she said she never thought her sister would end up going to prison for life.

“Being young at the time, we really just didn’t believe that that was possible,” Warren said.

Because Drummer had three prior felony convictions in Shelby County at the time of her 2008 sentencing, she was sentenced as a habitual offender.

To be charged as an habitual offender in Mississippi, you must have at least two prior felony convictions and one must be for a violent offense. Drummer was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 1992, aggravated assault in 1998 and possession of cocaine in 2007.

“If he did three felony charges in your city, fine. But this is in a — she did something in another city,” said Warren.

When Jacqueline Temple Rudder heard about Drummer’s case, she started an online petition two weeks ago. It calls for the governor to pardon, grant clemency or commute Rudder’s sentence.
“It is mind boggling the people that are sentenced to life without parole over convictions that no one was hurt,” said Temple Rudder.

One report says more than 400 people are serving life sentences because of Mississippi’s habitual offender law. Warren says her sister doesn’t need to be one of them.

“I do understand that a lot of people might needs to be locked up for life, but in her circumstance, that was just too harsh,” said Warren.

Reeves’ office didn’t respond to WREG’s request for comment.

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