New Drug Laws Put To the Test By Operation Ivy League

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Update (Feb 3): Chris Beam, CC ’06, just published this piece in Slate, explaining some of the history of the Rockefeller Laws and the significance of the “prestige factor” in deciding the fate of the arrested Columbia students.

The lawyers of Michael Wymbs and Chris Coles are seeking a “diversion to treatment” on behalf of their clients, Associated Press is reporting. The article explains the current legal negotiations being conducted on behalf of two of the five students who were arrested in December as part of Operation Ivy League. 2009 revisions to the stringent Rockefeller drug laws allow more leniency in sentencing, which could result in treatment for substance abuse instead of jail time. Marc Agnifilo, who is representing Coles, is quoted as describing Operation Ivy League as “probably the case that’s going to cause light to be shed on what these new laws mean: When diversion is appropriate, and what the Legislature intended when it cut back so drastically the Rockefeller laws.” Michael Bachner said of his client, “at the end of the day, Michael Wymbs is better off among us, working to help society, than being labeled as a felon and being ostracized.” Although further indictments may be filed, currently Harrison David is the only student out of the five arrested who is facing a mandatory prison sentence. The 2009 revisions had removed some of the minimum incarceration terms.

Bachner and Agnifilo both claim their clients were struggling with substance abuse, and should be treated accordingly. According to the AP article, Coles and Wymbs are hoping a judge will use the flexibility given to them by the recent legal revisions to try their cases in a special drug court. Defendents in these courts will typically¬† undergo a year or more of treatment and may end up being charged with misdemeanors if they are charged at all. Prosecutors allegedly declined to comment on the students’ request, and a judge has yet to make a statement. Neither of the students’ lawyers were available to comment.



  1. So...

    Is it wrong that I really wish Wymbs had been arrested back when he was making inane comments in my CC class sophomore year?

    Then again, maybe the drugs explain that...

  2. Anonymous  

    what has Columbia done with them? are they still enrolled?

    sorry for my ignorance, i just haven't heard anything about them being back in school or getting officially kicked out.

  3. Weak argument

    Not to say that drug laws should have lower sentencing guidelines or that the majority of c5 are better able to repay their debt to society without incarceration, but that argument is pretty weak. How is it substance abuse if the charges are for distribution? They abuse pot by selling it?

    • Actually pretty okay

      The argument that they need substance treatment is pretty valid. yes, they were selling, but you could say they were doing it to support their habits. You could even go as far as to say that these arrests saved them from spiraling into worse addiction and abuse - we've all seen the television shows where crackheads hit rock bottom.

  4. Anonymous  

    Really interesting information, but "typically generally"? Come on, Bwog, you can do better than that.

  5. i am about

    99% sure i know who wrote this comment...

  6. Thoughts on pot  

    Sung to the tune of \When Johnny Comes Marching Home:\

    I almost had a breakdown then, hurrah! Hurrah!
    But from that hour from nine to ten, hurrah! Hurrah!
    There was no more Plato, no more Kant, neither paper nor was there pen!
    And that's how marijuana saved my GPA.

    You live in a world you expect youth to build, hurrah! Hurrah!
    With our gifts society's thrilled, hurrah! Hurrah!
    But find out how our spare time in filled,
    You'll cuff us and take us downtown to be grilled!
    But it's the only thing that lets us work those fifteen hours a day.

    Glory, glory, marijuaaaaana!
    Glory, glory, relaaaaxation!
    Glory, it prevents our nervous breakdowns!
    But the PoPo's marching on!

  7. Anonymous  

    I'd prefer to see them all go to jail instead of getting a slap on the wrist. Dumbass can not be cured.

  8. Van Owen

    David would not have to sell drugs to pay for school if he had a ROTC scholarship!!!

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