New York Passes Rockefeller Drug Law Reform

 

 Gov. David A. Patterson

Governor David A. Paterson at the ceremonial signing of the Rockfeller Drug Law reforms.


Comprehensive reforms of the Rockefeller Drug Laws were signed into law by Governor David Paterson on April 7, 2009. A ceremonial signing of the Rockefeller Drug Laws was held on April 24, 2009, at Elmcor Youth and Adult Activities, Inc., a drug treatment facility in Queens. The Legal Action Center's Director/President Paul N. Samuels and Vice President Anita R. Marton were invited to attend the ceremonial signing, and had the opportunity to thank the Governor personally for his leadership. LAC has worked to reform the Rockefeller-era drug laws ever since they were enacted, over thirty five years ago.

 

We applaud Governor Paterson, Speaker Sheldon Silver, Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, Assemblymembers Jeffrion Aubry, Joseph Lentol, Helene Weinstein, and Senators Eric Schneiderman, Ruth Hassell-Thompson and John Sampson for reaching historic agreement on drug law reform legislation that  adopts a much smarter and more effective response to drug-related crime, moving away from harsh mandatory minimum sentences and making our communities safer by helping to break the cycle of drug use and crime.


This legislation eliminates some of the worst elements of these misguided and counter-productive laws. Among the many things this bill accomplishes, it returns to judges much of the sentencing discretion they had before the enactment of the Rockefeller-era drug laws so that they can send thousands of appropriate people to treatment or other community supervision. The bill also allows some people currently incarcerated in prison under these laws to apply for resentencing, provides for the conditional sealing of first-time drug felony convictions and up to three drug misdemeanor drug convictions, and allocates $72 million over two years for treatment, alternatives to incarceration, reentry, and other programming.  


While some people convicted of a second felony who are not addicted will not benefit from this law, and thus there is still work to be done, passage of this bill is still a huge accomplishment. To read Governor Paterson's press release regarding his signing Rockefeller drug reforms into law, visit http://www.state.ny.us/governor/press/press_0424091.html.

 LAC Director/President Paul N. Samuels, Assembleyman Jeffrion Aubrey, and LAC Vice President Anita R. Marton  LAC Vice President Anita R. Marton, Senator Ruth Hassell_Thompson, and LAC Director/President Paul N. Samuels
LAC Director/President Paul N. Samuels, Assembleyman Jeffrion Aubrey, and LAC Vice President Anita R. Marton Marton, Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, and Samuels
 
 LAC Vice President Anita R. Marton, Senator Eric Schneiderman, and LAC Director/President Paul N. Samuels  LAC Vice President Anita R. Marton , OASAS Commissioner Karen M. Carpenter-Palumbo, and LAC Director/President Paul N. Samuels
Marton, Senator Eric Schneiderman, and Samuels Marton, OASAS Commissioner Karen M. Carpenter-Palumbo, and Samuels