Pubdate: Sun, 08 Mar 2009
Source: Ogdensburg Journal/Advance News (NY)
Copyright: 2009 Johnson Newspaper Corp.
Address: : P.O. box 409 Ogdensburg NY 13669
Author: Lee Monnet
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To The Editor;

Once again Editor Reagan is using the Ogdensburg Journal to exert his
sanctimonious wisdom on the public. This time his target is
Assemblywoman Addie Jenne Russell for her vote to reform the
Rockefeller drug laws. Our current drug laws have been a dismal
failure since their inception 35 years ago.  Obviously these extremely
punitive laws have not been the deterrent lawmakers intended them to
be as drugs are more readily available, purity has vastly improved,
and black-markets have flourished since Governor Rockefeller enacted
these laws, all the while drug arrest and incarceration rates have
skyrocketed. The Editor states that District Attorney's oppose drug
law reform as it would make it harder to investigate and prosecute
drug cases. The position district Attorneys have taken is
understandable, the Rockefeller drug laws have given prosecutors a
powerful tool to coerce defendants into accepting plea bargains of a
lesser sentence or provide information on other citizens. Prosecutors
often use these harsh laws to intimidate defendants into forgoing
their Constitutional right to a jury trial for fear that if they are
found guilty a very lengthy sentence will be handed down, often longer
than a murderer, child molester, or rapist would receive.

Over the years research has concluded that treatment for many
non-violent drug offenders would be more productive and cost effective
than incarceration and that judges should have the discretion to
decide who deserves treatment. Mr. Reagan would be wise to open his
mind and listen to the research being conducted on alternatives to

Lee Monnet
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