Monday, April 27, 2009

Cash-strapped California county to stop prosecuting some crimes

From the Golden State, comes this story about the consequences of the bad economy, and one county's ongoing budget problems:
Misdemeanors such as assaults, thefts and burglaries will no longer be prosecuted in Contra Costa County because of budget cuts, the county's top prosecutor said Tuesday.

District Attorney Robert Kochly also said that beginning May 4, his office will no longer prosecute felony drug cases involving smaller amounts of narcotics. That means anyone caught with less than a gram of methamphetamine or cocaine, less than 0.5 grams of heroin and fewer than five pills of ecstasy, OxyContin or Vicodin won't be charged.

People who are suspected of misdemeanor drug crimes, break minor traffic laws, shoplift, trespass or commit misdemeanor vandalism will also be in the clear. Those crimes won't be prosecuted, either.
Barry Grove, a deputy district attorney who is president of the Contra Costa County District Attorneys Association, said, "There's no question that these kinds of crimes are going to drastically affect the quality of life for all the citizens of Contra Costa County."

The decision not to go after any perpetrators of certain offenses, Grove said, amounts to "holding up a sign and advertising to the criminal element to come to Contra Costa County, because we're no longer going to prosecute you." [emphasis added]
Kochly said prosecutors will still consider charging suspects with certain misdemeanors, including domestic violence, driving under the influence, firearms offenses, vehicular manslaughter, sex crimes and assault with a deadly weapon.

Article here. Contra Costa county is located in the Bay area in Northern California. Looks like crime's probably gonna go up, once word gets around to all the criminals that the county's not going to prosecute certain crimes. Let's hope law-abiding residents of the county have acquired the means to defend themselves.

Actually, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that other counties have either already implemented, or are considering implementing, similar no-prosecute policies due to tight budgets.

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