Randy Credico, knew little about New York politics in 1998, when he helped organize his first vigil to protest the state’s “Rockefeller” drug laws, the Village Voice reports. Scheduled to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the laws, the event was held on the sidewalk in front of Rockefeller Center. Some of the rally’s organizers thought it should be a one-time event; Credico disagreed. He packed up the posters and banners, brought them home, and over the next several years, organized more than 100 events.
Last week, the state legislature finally voted to change the laws by softening some of the most severe penalties. News of the modest changes did not put Credico, 47, in a jubilant mood. “The whole thing was a small payoff for seven years of street work,” he says. He supports full repeal of the laws–dismantling mandatory sentencing and allowing judges to determine the severity of each defendant’s punishment. For now, mandatory sentencing remains intact, with judges handing out prison time based on the weight of the drugs involved. The Voice profiles Credico and analyzes the impact of the legal changes.