Todd Juluke, once a notorious New Orleans drug dealer who turned to Buddhism and now works as a diversion mentor for Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, moved a step closer this week to seeing his long state felony record wiped clean.
After a hearing Tuesday, a panel of the state Board of Pardons and Parole voted 5-0 to recommend a “pardon and restoration of rights without firearms” to Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Juluke, 51, joins a group of about 60 convicts a year who have succeeded in getting their cases for clemency to the governor’s desk. Jindal has granted clemency in about 10 cases a year, on average. His office has reviewed but made no formal decisions on more than 600 such recommendations, a spokesman said.
Juluke has five drug convictions on his record from his decades on the streets, having shuttled cocaine from Miami to New Orleans and distributed it in the 6th and 7th wards. He said he ultimately became a down-and-out crack addict himself before a final relapse and a turn to Buddhist chanting in 2012.
His felony record bars him from his dream of opening an aftercare program for returning convicts.
As a judge, Cannizzzaro handed Juluke a 10-year sentence on a marijuana rap. A few years ago, the DA offered him a $15,000 post as a diversion mentor, and he recently wrote on Juluke’s behalf to the state board.