It is no surprise to this former Manhattan prosecutor and current criminal defense attorney that the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office obtained a top count plea for Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree and a severe sentence for the infamous Robert Chambers, a/k/a, the “Preppie Killer.” The notorious criminal is known for killing Jennifer Levin years ago in Manhattan’s Central Park.
Prior to his arrest, Mr. Chambers had been the target of an undercover police investigation where he ultimately sold a quantity of cocaine in excess of two ounces. Under New York State law, the sale of a controlled substance (cocaine, “crack,” heroin and other drugs) is punishable as felony regardless of how small or large the amount sold. One is guilty of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree (Penal Law Section 220.43) if he or she knowingly and unlawfully sells one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing a narcotic drug ad the preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances are of an aggregate weigh of two ounces or more. Under this offense it does not matter whether the amount barely exceeds two ounces or is multiple kilos.
The potential punishment for Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree depends on many factors including whether the current offense is the defendant’s first. Alternatively, if the defendant is a predicate felon or a violent predicate felon the sentence may be significantly enhanced. At a minimum, the potential sentence is eight years and up to twenty years, but may be much greater.
In the case of Mr. Chambers, not only did he have a terrible criminal history that no doubt had an impact on the prosecution’s recommendation and the court’s ultimate sentence, but Mr. Chambers faced a harsh sentence as a matter of law. As a violent predicate felon relating to Mr. Chamber’s prior offense for Manslaughter in the First Degree, Mr. Chambers faced a minimum of fifteen years and a maximum of thirty years in state prison.