This morning, Harrison David pleaded guilty to a felony charge in New York City Supreme Court. He will be sentenced on August 31st to 6 months of jail time (reduced to 4 for good behavior) at Rikers Island and 5 years of probation. Since he already served 2 weeks in Rikers Island before being released on bail, he only has 3.5 months of jail time left. His lawyer, Matthew Myers, told Bwog after the hearing that he expects David will be officially expelled from Columbia later today, now that he has been convicted of a felony.
David is currently living in Florida with a relative Myers describes as a “strict disciplinarian.” “New York is not a good environment for [David] anymore,” Myers said. He hopes his client can get a “fresh start” in Florida, where David will serve his 5 years of probation. Myers seemed reasonably happy with the plea deal. The prosecution had asked for a year upstate, but Myers convinced them to go with only four months at Rikers. When Bwog asked whether there was any way David could have avoided pleading guilty to a felony, Myers laughed and said he obviously could have gone to trial, but Special Narcotics would probably win. The fact one of the undercover officers involved in two of the sales to David was arrested for running an illegal gambling ring, Myers explained, probably made the district attorney more generous with the plea, but didn’t guarantee that David could win a trial.
It is unclear exactly what David will do now. Myers, perhaps unsurprisingly, praised his client, describing him as a “respectful, brilliant kid” with a “bright future ahead of him” who has “huge regrets he blew an Ivy League education,” but has still “handled the situation in a very mature fashion.” It is unclear when or where he’ll be able to go back to college, however. “Even state schools,” Myers lamented, are reluctant to accept students with criminal records. He went on to explain that he planned to apply in a few years for a “certificate of relief” signed by a judge that would give David back some legal rights (like voting and serving on jury duty) and hopefully make him more attractive to potential employers.
Meanwhile, the other four defendants continue to plead not guilty. Their lawyers will stick to the same argument from last month’s hearing: their clients are good kids who were addicted to drugs, and should be “diverted to treatment” rather than convicted of felonies and put on probation. Thanks to the repeal of New York’s extremely harsh “Rockefeller Drug Laws” two years ago, defendants charged with drug dealing who can show that they only dealt to fund their own addiction (as opposed to making money) are eligible for a diversion to treatment.
Update, 3:49 PM: The University has no comment on whether Harrison David will be, as his lawyer predicted, expelled today. We’ll keep you posted.