The Pot Hottie: Justice Favors the Cute

Today’s NY Post screamed a headline that was irresistable: “The Pot Hottie Breathes Freedom.” “Prosecutors said Julia Diaco, 20,dealt to undercover officers eight times, with her biggest deal $650 worth of cocaine, and would ply her wares on and around the NYU campus, including Washington Square Park.

When she was arrested, she was carrying several ounces of marijuana and a scale.

The case was surprising because the petite Diaco didn’t need the money – she’s the daughter of a millionaire builder and grew up in a castle-like mansion in tony Rumson, N.J.

Diaco pleaded guilty to drug possession and sale charges in 2004, but was allowed to withdraw that plea and plead guilty to lesser versions of those charges yesterday after successfully completing her drug rehab program and passing her drug tests.

She now attends a community college in New Jersey.

News of the deal frustrated Anthony Papa, 51, who, like Diaco, was once a first-time, non-violent offender. Instead of probation, he was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for delivering four ounces of cocaine for a police informant to an undercover cop for a $500 fee. The owner of a struggling auto repair business in The Bronx, Papa was desperate for cash and couldn’t afford a pricey lawyer.

“I get angry with a case like this because the laws are not applied equally. Because she had money and the right lawyers, she didn’t go to jail. Others should have that same opportunity,” he said. “All people should be treated like this woman – with compassion.”