Date of Award



Edward Cahill

Second Advisor

Amy Aronson


On November 8, 1983, Elaine Bartlett left her apartment in Harlem, and headed to Grand Central Station. There, she met her boyfriend, Nate. They were headed to the Monte Mario Hotel in Albany. To any bystander, they may have looked like any other couple. But Elaine Bartlett knew different. That’s because she had a four-ounce bag of cocaine stuffed down the front of her pants. In 1983, Bartlett was a twenty-six year old woman with four children. A male friend, George Deets—although she knew him as Chris at the time—told her that if she delivered the drugs, she could earn $2,500. Instead, she was caught up in a police sting, and she and her boyfriend were arrested for selling drugs. In January 1984, Bartlett and her boyfriend were convicted of an A-1 felony: 15 years to life. Bartlett’s boyfriend had previously been to jail, but this was Bartlett’s first confrontation with the law. To understand the extent of that conviction, we must go back a decade.