Iraq war veteran Sean Worsley (pictured), who suffers from a traumatic brain injury and PTSD, faces five years in prison after being arrested in Alabama for having medical marijuana
A veteran with a black disability, who was arrested in 2016 in Alabama for having medical marijuana, is now serving up to five years in prison.
Iraq war veteran Sean Worsley, now 33, suffering from a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), was on his way to visit relatives in North Carolina when he and his wife, Eboni, stopped in Gordo, Alabama, for gas.
The Worsleys blew their music on the pump, which caught the attention of a local police officer, Carl Abramo, according to a report by Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice.
When Abramo approached the couple, he told them that the loud music was contrary to the city’s noise ordinances.
Sean, who served in the military for five years before he was injured, knew his medical marijuana had been prescribed, so when Abramo asked him to search their vehicle, he agreed.
While searching, Abramo found the marijuana and the tissue papers and pipe that Sean smoked along with a six-pack of beer, a bottle of vodka, and some pain killers, according to the Appleseed report.
The painkillers were from Eboni, who had a prescription.
Sean, a Purple Hear recipient, said he was trying to show the officer that his medical marijuana card was from Arizona, where marijuana has been legal for medical reasons since 2011.
According to a police report obtained by Appleseed, the agent wrote that he “explained” him [Sean] that Alabama had no medicinal marijuana. ”
“I then put the suspect in handcuffs,” the report said.
Sean, now 33, suffering from a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), was on his way to visit relatives in North Carolina when he and his wife, Eboni (pictured together, left and right), stopped in Gordo, Alabama , for gas
Abramo arrested the Worsleys for violating the Ordinance on Sound and for illegal possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.
Sean was 28 when the VA determined he was “completely and permanently disabled due to exclusively [his] service-related handicaps’.
He suffered a traumatic brain injury that severely affected his short-term memory, as well as PTSD, depression, nightmares, and back and shoulder pain.
Recreational marijuana use is legal in 14 states, and medical marijuana is legal in 33 states.
According to Appleseed, medical marijuana is often used by veterans and others to manage the symptoms of a wide variety of conditions, including PTSD and pain.
The Worsleys were in prison for six days before being released on bail.
This system’s determination to punish Sean sparked a spiral of job losses, homelessness, additional criminal charges and ultimately incarceration in the country’s most violent prison system – all for a substance legal in states where half of Americans live reports the Appleseed report.
After the arrest, the couple drove back home to Arizona where they felt the charges made it difficult for them to live.
They were forced to move to Nevada, where they found a home and lived peacefully until the bailiff told them almost a year later that a judge was withdrawing the bonds for all the cases he had managed.
That meant the pair had to return to Alabama or were charged with not appearing in court.
Earlier this year, Sean was sidelined by the police and brought back some marijuana. He was then extradited back to Alabama, where he signed a 60-month plea deal
Sean has been in Pickens County prison since earlier this year. In April, a judge withdrew his probation period and sentenced him to 60 months in custody with the Alabama Department of Corrections
When they got to the court, Eboni remembered being taken to separate rooms.
To make matters worse, she said she was trying to explain that Sean needed a guardian to help him understand the process of helping him make an informed decision, but the authorities refused.
“They said no, and they literally locked me in a room other than him. And his conversation with me is that they told him that if he didn’t sign the plea deal, we would have to stay in jail until December and they would charge me the same costs they would have charged him, “Eboni recalled in the Appleseed report do of.
“That’s why he said he just signed it.”
Sean’s plea deal included a 60-month probation period, which he would serve in Arizona since he lived there at the time of the arrest.
“I feel like I’m being thrown out of a country I’ve gone to and where I’ve served,” said Sean.
They were then forced to pack up their Nevada home and move to Arizona, where it was difficult to find stable housing.
The couple was then without a home and at a time when Eboni needed heart surgery.
Earlier this year, Sean, who has two children aged 14 and 12, was sidelined by the police and brought back some marijuana.
According to Appleseed, the agents in Arizona said they noticed he was terrified when they put him aside.
“They asked him why. According to Eboni, he told them everything about this PTSD, his traumatic brain injury, the expired card, the outstanding warrant from Alabama. The officers said not to worry; Alabama would never hand him over for a little marijuana. It would be good, “the report says.
The couple later called to be on the safe side, and Alabama officials said they wanted to return Sean to Pickens County, where he was arrested in 2016.
“When the Arizona police told him that, he ran away. He was taken to prison and eventually transferred to Pickens County, “the report said.
Sean has been in Pickens County prison since earlier this year.
In April, a judge withdrew his probation period and sentenced him to 60 months in custody of the Alabama Department of Corrections.
Sean’s mom has since hired a lawyer to appeal. However, it is likely that Sean will go to prison in the next month.
The Worsleys also have one GoFundMe page to raise funds for Sean’s legal fees.