The Phoenix Network:
About  |  Advertise
Adult  |  Moonsigns  |  Band Guide  |  Blogs  |  In Pictures
Media -- Dont Quote Me  |  News Features  |  Talking Politics  |  This Just In

The Last Weed Defendant

By CHRIS FARAONE  |  December 16, 2010

By 1997, Rockett was often sleeping outside on benches, or "wherever [he] passed out." His sister Kathleen describes John during that period as having "lost his way," "suffering the consequences and never seeming to learn from the experiences." He only worked occasionally, as a mover, and only then to gain access into homes and liquor cabinets. On a November day that year, Rockett was arrested for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon after a confrontation with a woman on a bus heading from Cambridge to Waltham. He claims that he was attacked, but the courts came to a different conclusion.

Awaiting a potentially serious sentence, Rockett continued getting wasted. One night, he smashed his fist through the front window of a home he thought belonged to a friend. In fact, it belonged to a Boston police officer, whose wife was there alone with their children.

Unwilling to face the consequences for the assault charges, and with new charges pending against him, Rockett decided to commit suicide. On December 8, 1998, he'd been imbibing for days, and, nearing the end, rode into Waltham to visit his old hangouts when he had second thoughts and checked into a nearby rehab center. It was his mother's birthday, and the last time he'd ever tie one on.

"I was either going to drink myself to death, or drink until I had the balls to jump in front of a train," says Rockett. "But for some reason I decided to get help."

Rockett had washed out of rehab more times than he could remember. But this time was different. "When I called my mother [to tell her], she said it was the best birthday present that she ever had," he says. "My mom saying that just went right through me. It was the first time in a long while that I didn't think everyone else would be better off if I was dead."

This time, it stuck.

"All I want is to get on with  my life"
Rockett surrendered himself in 2003 after five years dry and on the run. He now says the duration of his flight was twofold: he wanted to prove to himself that he could stay sober for that long, and he was afraid of going back to prison. On account of his reformation, upon Rockett's return a South Boston District Court judge let him slide for the disorderly conduct charge he picked up on the cop's doorstep. Waltham District Court placed him on probation for the bus assault and for fleeing, and in 2005 a judge ordered Rockett to serve 19 days in Billerica to complete his sentence. It was the same prison where he first matriculated 29 years earlier; the circle was complete. Or so he thought.

Rockett looks back on most of his life with shame and regret. But not the past 12 years; since sobering up, he got his truck driver's license, and was at one point earning $75,000 a year. Even now that he's indigent and unemployed, Rockett takes pride in helping friends get clean, and in his volunteer work at the Hull Seaside Animal Rescue shelter. He brings with him to every court appearance a stack of character references, including one penned by Massachusetts State Senator Robert Hedlund explaining: "[Rockett] appears to have successfully turned his life around. A conviction on this minor charge would cause him personal hardships, and threaten to undo the progress he has made."

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |   next >
Related: Photos: MassCann's 2010 Freedom Rally, The price you'll pay for drugs in Boston, Can Patrick Hang On?, More more >
  Topics: News Features , Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Marijuana,  More more >
| More
4 Comments / Add Comment


This man is being persecuted not prosecuted! How much did it cost the Bristol county and Commonwealth to conduct this witch hunt. Lab tests, Lawyers, Judges, Officers, clerks, probation....they are all on our dime, waiting for their pensions, so we can support them for the rest of their lives.

24 court appearances for twigs and seeds!! Are you kidding me. I thought justice was suppose to be swift. He has paid his debt for his past . This is a perfect example of our courts systematic failure, waste and harassment of citizens. Ignoring the will of the people... IT IS NOT ILLEGAL.

PS. I would like to meet the person that can get 1000 joints out of an ounce of weed! Fools!
Posted: December 15 2010 at 5:31 PM


If I were the judge I would put John Rockett on probation and community service of helping homeless persons with substance abuse problems get their lives together. The brother should step forward and own up to his part in the situation if that is indeed true.

It sounds as if the charge should be taken seriously but there should be no prison time here - just community service and monitoring of that by probation officers.

Illness can cause havock in any life and it caused a lot of problems for John Rockett so that he did not get a foothold in the years when he was becoming his own person. Society should be very forgiving of this - and we should look at where the community and government was in helping Mr. Rockett and his siblings at a time when that would have made a huge difference in his life and the lives of many other kids who have their lives turned upside down overnight.

Free him, with probation and allow him to work which will help his self-esteem and allow him to teach others that overcoming the odds can be done!
Posted: December 17 2010 at 1:33 PM


The cause for his being arrested isn't the quantity, which was, as you pojnt out, below the one-Oz limit. The arrestable offense was he that had it broken down into multiple containers (bags), which to the Police says "Dealer."

It's a nuance in the law, but following decriminalization, they've already used this on several people that I am aware of.
Posted: December 19 2010 at 7:08 PM


In a corrupt blind eyed society,Politics are more important than civil liberties and human rights.Everything else about our leadership sucks, why should the pot issue be any different.
Posted: December 21 2010 at 5:42 PM
Add Comment
HTML Prohibited

 Friends' Activity   Popular   Most Viewed 
[ 12/22 ]   Great Lakes + Ghost Thrower + Save Ends + Choke Up  @ Middle East Upstairs
[ 12/22 ]   The Christmas Revels  @ Sanders Theatre
[ 12/22 ]   Boston Ballet  @ Opera House
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   BEST BOSTON RAP ALBUMS OF 2010  |  December 21, 2010
    So I'm walking past the Jeanie Johnston in Jamaica Plain after the Boston Music Awards, and I see Slaine and his friend Ronnie hugging the bar and crushing rum and cokes.
  •   THE LAST WEED DEFENDANT  |  December 16, 2010
    John Rockett was cruising to Twin River Casino in Rhode Island when an Attleboro cop stopped his dark blue Dodge Caravan for having one headlight out.
  •   INTERVIEW: U-GOD  |  December 14, 2010
    Getting a mouthful of the Wu-Tang Clan
  •   ALPHA CORMEGA  |  December 14, 2010
    Cormega's been to Paris, been to and from prison, and signed to Def Jam and a host of smaller labels.
  •   100 ESSENTIAL HIP-HOP TRACKS FOR 2010  |  December 14, 2010
    As good a snapshot of no-bullshit hip-hop in 2010 as you'll get anywhere.

 See all articles by: CHRIS FARAONE

RSS Feed of for the most popular articles
 Most Viewed   Most Emailed 

  |  Sign In  |  Register
Phoenix Media/Communications Group:
Copyright © 2010 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group