I have a problem with the Rockefeller Drug Laws. The very spirit behind the law is itself insidious — given that then-governor Nelson D. Rockefeller was a heavy proponent of the laws when he signed them into law 35 years ago. What prompted me to write about the law (this particular time, because there are instances almost daily that I hear of that anger me) is a former MLB player by the name of Willie Mays Aikens, who played for the Kansas City Royals (among other teams) in the 1980s. He was caught trying to cop from an undercover officer and arrested and charged for POSSESSION; but not with the intent to sell. The law itself does not delineate between intent to distribute and usage. I am not 100% clear about the amount Aikens possessed (since his defence was that he was a user and not a dealer), but he was convicted of selling 50 grams to the uncover officer in 1994. He received 20 years and 8 months… for selling 50 grams of crack cocaine. There are murderers who don’t get 1/3 of the time that Aikens received for selling CRACK.
The laws are evil because the untrained eye does not see the implications involved. First of all, they have been counterproductive. While the penal system is happy to cast a wide net and incarcerate all who break the law, even slightly, you now how people who both use and sell crack cocaine (mostly Blacks and other minorities) receiving harsh sentences on par with 1st and 2nd degree murder and 1st degree manslaughter. To be fair, some states have scaled back their drug laws, but the ones in place in New York State are still ridiculous. Willie Mays Aikens agrees, even though he was busted in Missouri.
The penalty for PURE COCAINE possession, a drug which has a higher street value than crack cocaine, is much less. How is this so? WHY is this so? Most of its users are of the middle and upper middle/upper class. There’s no more explanation needed. I’ve seen people get 5-10 for selling JUMS, meanwhile coke dealers barely get a year, if that. Much less users who are caught with minimal amounts. Something is wrong with that picture.
Let’s hear your thoughts on this.