As a district court judge in Louisiana, Michele Morel handles all types of cases within her jurisdiction. Michele Morel also maintained additional responsibilities as drug court judge from September 2013 through August 2014.
In the State of Louisiana, possession of marijuana is a criminal offense. A first offense may lead to a misdemeanor penalty of six months in prison and $500 due in fines, while a second offense is a felony charge and can potentially cost the individual up to $2,500 in fines and a five-year prison term. Any offense after this could place the offender in jail for 20 years and lead to $5,000 owed to the state. These are some of the most severe penalties for marijuana possession in the United States.
In April of 2014, the Louisiana Senate Judiciary Committee shelved a bill that would have reduced these penalties at significant savings to the state. The same committee also rejected an amendment to the bill that would have imposed only misdemeanor penalties for possession of under a single ounce regardless of repeat conviction. However, the Louisiana Legislature did later go on to give judges the leeway to sanction a paroled individual charged with misdemeanor, or first-offense, possession, rather than proceeding with an automatic revocation of parole.