Saturday, July 3, 2010

Marchman Act Blog: Drug Law Reform Sees Dealers Going Free, Says N.Y. Prosecutor

New York's repeal of mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders has led to a slew of serious dealers going free, New York City Special Prosecutor Bridget Brennan contends.

The New York Daily News reported June 27 that last year's reform of the state's Rockefeller-era drug laws enabled prisoners serving long sentences for non-violent offenses to pursue resentencing and treatment. Under "judicial diversion," a judge may dismiss a case pursuant to an admission of guilt and completion of an addiction treatment program.

Since the law took effect on Oct. 7, however, Brennan's office has fought 90 of the 158 cases reviewed by a judge. Many, she said, are mid-level dealers trying to game the system. "They are selling cocaine and heroin, but say they are 'addicted' to marijuana," she said.

Brennan is blowing the problem out of proportion, reform supporters said. "Some people are trying to take advantage of the law," Nestor Ferreiro, chief of the Bronx district attorney's narcotics bureau acknowledged, "[but] the judges and the diversion staff are pretty good at catching it."

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