New Drug Laws Put To the Test By Operation Ivy League
Written by Bwog Staff
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.
Tags: operation ivy league