Convicted Jamaican drug dealer granted clemency by New York Governor

Gov. Kathy Hochul holds coronavirus news briefing where she discussed the potential dangers faced by spread of the new omicron COVID-19 variant on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021, in the Red Room at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y. (Will Waldron/Times Union)

NEW YORK, United States (CMC) – New York Governor Kathy Hochul has granted clemency to a convicted Jamaican-born drug dealer along with nine other immigrants who have “showed remorse and exemplified rehabilitation”.

In commuting the sentence of Roger Cole, 55, Hochul noted that he was originally sentenced to 125 years to life in prison, “having been put on trial during the Rockefeller Drug Law era during which extremely lengthy prison sentences were handed down for drug-related convictions”.

In 1989 and 1992, Cole was convicted of five counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the First Degree, and one count each of criminal sale of a firearm in the Second Degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the Third Degree.

“If he were sentenced today, he likely would not have faced such a lengthy sentence.”

Governor Hochul

His sentence was subsequently reduced on appeal to 85 to 100 years, of which Cole has now served more than 30 years.

“If he were sentenced today, he likely would not have faced such a lengthy sentence,” Governor Hochul said.

While incarcerated, Hochul said Cole earned his General Educational Diploma (GED) and an associate degree and completed numerous vocational training and certification programs, including legal research and law library management. He also earned a certificate for completing a three-year business course while incarcerated.

“Upon his release, Cole will be reunited with his mother and other family members in his home country of Jamaica, who will provide housing and help him find employment,” Hochul said.