Rockefeller Drug Laws Dropped

For years, New York's Rockefeller drug laws have been among the toughest in the nation-as well as a magnet for criticism by activists who contended that the laws' mandatory sentencing requirements were overly harsh and constrained judges' authority in dealing with nonviolent offenders. After years of activist efforts to "Drop the Rock," Governor David Paterson and state lawmakers have reportedly reached a deal to roll back the laws' toughest provisions. Governor Paterson himself was once arrested for protesting the drug laws outside then-Governor George Pataki's Manhattan office in 2002, when he was still a state senator. The laws were originally passed in 1973 to combat a sharp rise in heroin use.