Jay-Z Advocates For The Release Of Man Who Received 20 Years in Prison For Weed Charges

Jay-Z Advocates For The Release Of Man Who Received 20 Years In Prison For Weed Charges

Jay-Z is trying to right a wrong for one his fans that is serving time in prison. According to reports, 55-year-old Valon Vailes was charged in December 2007 for conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute more than one ton of marijuana from 2003 to 2007. He was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison with an additional 10-year supervised release.


Jay-Z’s legal team put out a plea together to ask for a “compassionate release.” Valon Vailes’ case got the attention of the 51-year-old rapper’s legal team when he wrote an emotional letter to Jay-Z. He wrote the letter back in February from New York’s Otisville Correctional Facility. In the letter he discusses how he’s been serving time for a substance that is now a legal and profitable business venture for many. Valon Vailes says in the letter,

“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.”

Valon Vailes

He continues to speak on the hardships he’s endured during his time in prison and how he hopes to get his charges dropped to be with his family again.

“My family needs me home. While incarcerated, I have lost loved ones,” he explained. “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. A lot has changed in my life, but most importantly, I have a newfound view of society. Therefore, I pledge to my family, my children, and myself that my incarceration would not be in vain.”

Jay-Z read the letter and was moved to put together a legal team to help by filing a petition on his behalf. Reportedly, the first motion was filed in August and they noted that Vailes was a model inmate.

U.S. District Judge Frank Whitney issued a short 5-line that same month, that improperly noted that Vailes was “pro se motion” – which means he represented himself – when he’s being represented by Alex Spiro, a renowned celebrity attorney.

Alex Spiro argued in court that,

“Mr. Vailes has exhausted his administrative remedies with the [Federal Bureau of Prisons]; extraordinary and compelling reasons warrant compassionate release in his case; the relevant factors support release; and Mr. Vailes is not a danger to the community. Mr. Vailes 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.”

While the case is still ongoing, there is a petition available to sign to help get Valon Vailes out of prison.

What are you thoughts on Jay-Z’s actions to help? Let us know in the comments.



Authored by: Briana Gabrielle