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20/20 Finally Does Something Useful

The newsmagazine 20/20 has for a long time given itself to covering fluff pieces and nonsensical snifflings by that reporter-savant John Stossel, but now we see that it did something for the social good for a change:

March 10, 2007 — Its official: Tyrone Brown, the man sentenced to life in prison for violating probation with a single marijuana cigarette, will be a free man.

ABC News' "20/20" documented this story in November 2006. Brown is African American, poor and without connections. His harsh sentence was contrasted with the mercy shown a white criminal who murdered someone, then repeatedly violated his parole with cocaine.

The privileged criminal, who was the son of a Baptist minister and the brother-in-law of a U.S. congressman, was never sent to jail, and now even his probation has been lifted.

Brown was involved in an armed robbery that yielded $2. He, too, was first sentenced to probation, but when he violated it just once with a marijuana joint, he was sentenced to life. He has served 17 years.Both men were sentenced by the same judge, Keith Dean.

. . .After the "20/20" report, Dallas voters ousted Dean from the bench, and Friday Tyrone Brown was granted a "conditional pardon" by Texas Gov. Rick Perry.