The deal that was reached some months ago (sponsored by the highly unpopular Gov. Paterson) to repeal and revise much of New York State's Rockefeller Drug Laws, a priority of the Left for some time now, could turn out to be a huge boon to drug addicts as well as drug dealers:
Drug use is a choice, not a "disease" as so many liberals like to claim. No one would ever claim that a cigarette addict was suffering from sort of disease, but with liberals it's never about personal responsibility, it's always about finding some excuse out. The Rockefeller Drug Laws may have been harsh, in some cases racist and maybe even outdated, but considering the damaging effects that drug use has on families, neighborhoods, the workplace, our safety and society in general, stringent laws are needed for drug offenders. This doesn't mean that our federal government doesn't need to do more in our war on drugs or that treatment for first-time, non-violent offenders shouldn't at all be considered, but a literal get-out-of-jail-free pass isn't the right answer either. This idiot reform package by Gov. Paterson goes way too far. The safety of our citizens should always come first.
Here at the Daily News editorial page, we try to focus on matters of vital interest to readers. One such topic involved Albany's relaxation of the so-called Rockefeller drug laws.
So extreme were the provisions of the legislation in steering even recidivist traffickers and repeat quality-of-life offenders into treatment programs that we dubbed the bill the "Drug Dealer Protection Act."
The Legislature and governor refused to listen. But one incarcerated gentleman, who boasts a 27-page rap sheet, paid close attention. He found our editorials describing the law to be of perversely vital interest.
"They just changed the law," he said on a taped jailhouse conversation, adding that the statute was called the "Drug Dealers Protection Law."
That lawmakers might actually use such a title seemed plausible because we had detailed the many leniencies of the legislation. Among them:
Dealers would be eligible for probation after two, three and four convictions. Defendants could claim addiction with the aim of going into rehab. After rehab, dealers could seek case dismissals. Prosecutors would have to prove that big traffickers had made at least $50,000 in profit, an impossible task without accounting ledgers.
Said the happy inmate: "They can say that they have a habit, that they do sell drugs. And they got to prove that you make over 50,000 a year, and they said that's hard to prove with no financial records. ... So you know what they did, they just created the Beast. The Beast is coming home to be the juggernaut. ...
"They said even if you have three or four, no, four or five convictions, you're still eligible for a program, and you know me, I got no sales on my records. All is possessions, so they got to give me a program. ... They just gave me the free-for-all. You know what that means? I'm burnin' the streets up when I go home. ...
"Well, the Beast is being created right now."
Such is the law from the pusher's-eye view, rather than from the fantasy perspective that street dealers, car boosters, store burglars and the like are merely addicts crying out for help.
The Legislature tightened provisions that would have given a pass to $50,000-and-up kingpins. But lawmakers and Paterson held fast to empowering judges to seal as many as four convictions on a druggie's record - even when the druggie applies to be a foster parent or a teacher or a nursing home aide.
The law is a get-out-of-jail-free pass. We told them so. And now the Beast has come to bite them.