PATRICK BEADLE # 219770
UNIT: CMCF R&C
CENTRAL MISSISSIPPI CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
PO BOX 88550
PEARL, MS 39208
MDOC ID NUMBER: 219770RACE: BLACK
LOCATED AT: Central Mississippi Correctional Facility
RELEASE DATE: 11/21/2028
Entry Date: 11/30/2018
3794 MS Hwy 468
A Jamaican-born musician is sitting in a Rankin County prison after initially being convicted of drug trafficking for marijuana he purchased legally says he feels like he is in a 1960s black-and-white movie.
"People who have murdered someone or molested a child have gotten less time," said Patrick Beadle in a recent phone call with the Clarion Ledger from the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility.
Beadle, 48, was pulled over in 2017 in Madison County and charged with trafficking in weed he bought in Oregon. He was convicted in July 2018 of drug trafficking by an all-white Madison County Circuit Court jury and sentenced to eight years in prison without parole. Prosecutors and the judge threw out the trafficking charge and allowed Beadle in 2018 to plead guilty to simple possession of marijuana.
Beadle initially faced up to 40 years in prison when he was sentenced in October 2018 to eight years in prison without parole under state drug trafficking laws.
Beadle said he hopes he will get parole in July 2021. He said he believes the adverse effect archaic laws have on peoples' lives should be highlighted. He said he is in prison for medical marijuana, which is impeding his ability to provide for his son.
While he's steadfast in his belief he should not be in prison, he said anyone in his shoes would take the 12-year sentence, which has the possibility of getting out in three years, over eight years with no chance of parole.
"My client didn't want to roll the dice on an appeal since he was facing eight years in prison day for day," Beadle attorney Cynthia Stewart has said.
Madison County Assistant District Attorney Todd McAlpin, the lead prosecutor in Beadle's case, couldn't be reached for comment. He argued during the trial in 2018 “that marijuana was hidden in that vehicle to transport from somewhere. I don’t know where, (but) to some other place."
Beadle said he finds it ironic that Mississippi voters approved a referendum in November to create a medical marijuana program and he is in a Mississippi prison for possessing marijuana he legally obtained for medicinal use.
Beadle, who performs under the name BlackFire, said he legally obtained the marijuana in Oregon, where medical marijuana was legalized in 1998. Oregon voters approved recreational use of marijuana in 2014.
Prosecutors admitted there was no evidence to prove Beadle was trafficking drugs other than the amount of marijuana, 2.89 pounds, and that it was concealed in his vehicle.
Beadle said he decided to travel through Mississippi in 2017 after having visited his 8-year-old son in Ohio because of this state's rich music heritage.
Beadle said he had a medical marijuana card from Oregon to treat chronic pain in both knees where cartilage has worn down from his years of playing college basketball.
Beadle said he was driving through Madison County on March 8, 2017, when he was pulled over by a sheriff's deputy on I-55 near Canton. He disputes the deputy's assertion that he had crossed over the fog line, the painted line of the side of the roadway.
In the Beadle case, authorities found no large sums of money, drug paraphernalia or weight measuring scale to substantiate the trafficking charge.
Beadle believes he was a victim of racial profiling.
"The only reason I was pulled over was dreadlocks and I was driving a new car," he said. "My phone showed no intention to visit anyone in Mississippi."
Beadle said Mississippi seems to be cultivating a system of having people in prison with all the state facilities, private prisons, regional facilities and community work centers.
"It's modern day slavery," he said of Mississippi's prison system.
Jimmie E. Gates formerly reported for The Clarion Ledger.