First Rockefeller Inmate Released Under New Law

Ivan Wright is 69 years old. He went to jail 19 years ago, in 1985, after being sentenced to 25 years to life for selling three ounces of cocaine to an undercover officer. Today he became the first inmate released under the newly revised Rockefeller drug laws.

In releasing Wright today, the Judge said he had paid his debt to society. But how will society repay Mr. Wright for depriving him of his freedom for an unconscionable amount of time, making his 11 year old daughter grow up without her father, miss the birth of his grandchild, and probably so much more?

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    Re: First Rockefeller Inmate Released Under New La (none / 0) (#1)
    by wishful on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 09:44:09 PM EST
    Is Mr. Wright eligible for any social support? He might have enough quarters for SS, but does a record disqualify him? What about health care? His health can't be very good, prison being what it is, and his incredibly long time confined there. What about a place to live? The guy is 69 years old. Why did we want to do this?

    For Three ounces of drugs it cost him 20 years and all of us $375,000 dollars. The state and the system are insane, maybe things will get better? but as far as Wright and his life go, he will not be getting any kind of aid from the state, sad world. Its not justice to toss a guy in prison over three ounces of any drug. oh yes didn't the rockefeller family make a lot of money in the drug business in the 1830s? selling something to the chinese?

    Whoops. Anyway, what I liked about this post was the absolute absence of Mr. Wright as an actor in his own destiny. -C

    That's exactly what I liked about Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, Cliff, was his absence as an actor in his own destiny (the state took that ability away from him).

    Cliff, let's pretend your son got another underage drinking arrest today -- and surprise -- a judge sentenced him to 25 to life. You are flabbergasted, you didn't know that the law carried such a heavy penalty, but, alas, ignorance of the law is no excuse, so now your grandkids will grow up without a father. It turns out that the legislators in your state decided to "get tough" on certain offenses that just so happen to be usually committed by colored young undesirables. The legislators instituted extremely harsh penalties that the average person -- especially those the law intended to ensnare -- didn't know about. Now, sure, Wright made a decision to perform an act that violated an enumerated law, but there's something in the Constitution called the Due Process clause that says the government cannot deprive a person of liberty where they would not have reasonable notice of the consequences of their actions. 19 YEARS, for a sale of three ounces of goods seems patently unreasonable to me unless said goods are plutonium or uranium. The fact that upwards of 90% of those sentenced under the Rockefeller laws are non-white contradicts our self-image that the US is different than the gulag-happy former Communist countries.

    Re: First Rockefeller Inmate Released Under New La (none / 0) (#6)
    by Adept Havelock on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 08:55:31 AM EST
    -Peter James Bond: "the US is different than the gulag-happy former Communist countries" Well, we do have more of our citizens incarcerated than any other nation on earth. Got to feed that prison-industrial complex somehow. Land of the free?

    PJB - Well, since my oldest son is 9, I'll have to use my imagination. :-) So, perhaps I should imagine Les M. Iserables (heh, I tickle myself sometimes - but not in public) getting multiple drunk driving convictions. Ok, I'm there. Now I have to imagine at 25 year sentance. Nope, can't do it. In NC you can't get much more than a year or parole for that. -C

    Re: First Rockefeller Inmate Released Under New La (none / 0) (#8)
    by chris on Fri Jan 21, 2005 at 10:51:35 AM EST
    Cliff- That's the point. Imagine your son is 18. Alcohol is illegal for him. You think 25 years is reasonable for the offense now?

    wishful -- he's going back to Panama. He apparently has an outstanding deportation order (the article didn't say what for) and he's going home voluntarily. Apparently he still has family and some land there.

    Posted by Peter James Bond at January 21, 2005 09:25 AM but of course you do know _ is aware of that. _ is the anti-anti, wherever that leaves him in life. would lol, but _ is serious in his intentions.