Christopher Coles, one of the students arrested last year in Operation Ivy League, was granted a diversion to treatment earlier today, according to DNAinfo. Instead of receiving probation or jail time, Coles will complete a one-year drug treatment course. Perhaps most importantly, he will not have a felony charge on his criminal record when he completes the treatment.
A diversion to treatment is meant as an alternative to a felony conviction and jail time for drug offenders who sell drugs primarily to fund their own addiction, not just to make money. Coles recognized he had a crushing addiction and sold drugs to support it, argued his lawyer, Marc Agnifilo. “He contacted Columbia University on his own without knowing that he was going to be arrested a month later and said, ‘I have a problem with marijuana. I want to stop smoking. My life is falling apart. My parents are not supporting me, they’re disowning me,'” Agnifilo argued in court, before telling the New York Post, “I think he was high most of his waking hours.” Agnifilo’s argument convinced the judge, who approved Coles’ diversion to treatment and invited him back to court on December 20th to work out the details of his treatment plan.
Coles’ co-defendants also applied for diversions to treatment earlier this year, but did not receive them. In August, Harrison David was sentenced to 3 months in jail and 5 years of probation, and last week, Michael Wymbs received five years of probation. Cases against the last two defendants, Jose Stephen Perez and Adam Klein, are still pending at this time.