For too long, the “war on drugs” had been waged against the same communities that it was supposed to protect. Scorched earth tactics served only to exacerbate the problem, as law enforcement, in its zeal to “win” this war, ignored the distinction between the addict and the profiteer, the small time dealer and the kingpin. The result is that our most vulnerable communities were twice victimized: first, by the scourge of drugs, and then by the efforts to eradicate it.
In 2004, District Attorney Soares stood committed to Rockefeller Drug Laws reform. These draconian laws often resulted in unfair penalties because judges were not allowed to consider the individual circumstances of each case before imposing a sentence upon entry.
District Attorney Soares worked tirelessly to lobby the state legislature to reform the draconian laws that cost taxpayers millions of dollars and resulted in grave injustices. In 2009, District Attorney Soares watched with great pride and sense of accomplishment when the Legislature voted to enact real reform of Rockefeller.
As a result thousands of people charged with felony drug offenses have the right to individualized justice in the court room, and judges are able to sentence people to treatment and other alternatives to incarceration.
Many people who were incarcerated under the Rockefeller Drug Laws applied to the District Attorney’s Office for resentencing consideration and were granted release.
District Attorney Soares is such a believer in the need for treatment for those addicted to drugs and alcohol that, throughout the ongoing national investigation into the illegal distribution of controlled substances, he has been prosecuting only those responsible for the distribution and sale of these drugs, not the users.