Inmate Successfully Appeals Resentencing Denial

February 28, 2012

Cleary Gottlieb, together with counsel from The Legal Aid Society, succeeded in reversing the lower court’s denial of Mr. L’s application for resentencing pursuant to the Drug Law Reform Act of 2009.

The Drug Law Reform Act permits certain inmates serving sentences under the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws to apply to be resentenced in accordance with the new and generally shorter sentencing scheme. In connection with a $20 drug sale in 2001, Mr. L was permitted to plead guilty to a lesser charge of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree provided he successfully completed a drug diversion program. After over two years of successful participation in this rehabilitation program, Mr. L relapsed and was sentenced to five to ten years of imprisonment for the underlying charge. In May 2010, the trial court denied Mr. L’s application for resentencing. In February 2012, the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division, First Department unanimously reversed the denial of Mr. L’s application, finding that Mr. L’s positive prison record and rehabilitation were not outweighed by his criminal history.