His Rocky road to freedom


Saul Sultan, after nine years in prison on drug conviction, gets new term – and ticket out.

An ailing 80-year-old World War II veteran yesterday became the state's oldest defendant to be freed from prison under the revised Rockefeller drug laws.

Saul Sultan had served nine years of a sentence of 15 years to life for possession of more than 6 ounces of cocaine and drug paraphernalia after cops raided his Brooklyn nightclub, Pop's Lounge, in January 1995.
But Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Patricia DiMango yesterday resentenced him to time served and five years of probation after Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes backed a petition by defense attorney Margaret Ratner Kunstler to set Sultan free.

"You are physically disabled and confined to a wheelchair as a result of an automobile accident," DiMango told Sultan. "You have maintained a good record. You are not a danger or risk to society."

State Correction Department officials said Sultan, who served in the Army, is the oldest of 11 defendants resentenced under laws revised by the Legislature in December.

Juan Gonzalez, 86, of Long Island, who is serving 40 years to life for drug convictions, is the oldest defendant eligible for resentencing. About 445 defendants statewide could get new terms, supporters said.

Sultan, huddled in a wheelchair, clutching his belongings in a plastic bag, did not react. "I'm so happy," said his daughter, Sandra Cardarella