Pubdate: Sun, 25 Nov 2001
Source: Daily Gazette (NY)
Copyright: 2001 The Gazette Newspapers
Author: Robert Merkin
Bookmark: (Rockefeller Drug Laws)


"Careful with drug laws" (Nov. 20) is an editorial that might have
been faxed over by Schenectady District Attorney Bob Carney. It
reflects only the monolithic view of New York's district attorneys,
and takes not the slightest notice of any other community voices on
the crucial need for substantive reform of the 27-year-old Rockefeller
mandatory-minimum drug laws.

The Daily Gazette is under no obligation to agree with New York's
civil-rights, human-rights, medical, legal and religious leaders. But
its blinders-on editorial paints an incredibly kindergarten and
incredibly misleading picture of good guys (district attorneys) and
bad guys (Rockefeller law reformers). To The Daily Gazette, our
prosecutors are our most trustworthy authorities on criminal justice.

In fact, the Bill of Rights reeks with distrust and suspicion of
prosecutors, and bluntly seeks to limit their powers. The Founding
Fathers knew all too well that all governments seek simple, corrupt
ways to railroad any citizen they target, regardless of guilt,
innocence, fact, fairness or evidence.

The Bill of Rights fully anticipated the Rockefeller laws. Prosecutors
dream of a machine that guarantees convictions and throw-away-the-key
prison sentences with no realistic chance of defense or acquittal,
particularly by the poor and politically powerless. This was the
European, despotic "justice" the Founding Fathers knew only too well,
and were determined not to perpetuate in the United States. But it is
the spirit and essence of the Rockefeller laws.

When The Daily Gazette opposes Rockefeller reform at the urging of New
York's power-hungry DAs, it would do well to print, on the same page,
Amendments IV-VIII of the Bill of Rights. In demanding to cling to the
cruel, unjust and racist Rockefeller laws forever, New York's DAs have
spat upon and dismantled these American rights, and The Daily Gazette
is now their mouthpiece.

Northampton, Mass.
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