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Decriminalization in California

Decriminalization in California

Posted By Law Offices of Karlstrom & Krebs || 1-Dec-2014

In California, voters passed Proposition 47 which reduced certain felony cases (like drug possession) to misdemeanor violations. In today's Wall Street Journal there is an expose detailing the assembly-line nature of most criminal courts; where the volume of cases requires swift proceedings and inevitably impacts the rights of a defendant to justice. In some courts, district attorneys are simply refusing to charge some defendants with petty crimes because they neither have the resources nor time to effectively prosecute the cases. What do all these things have in common?

Decriminalization.

There is a movement in the criminal justice system to revisit the types of cases that should be in the system and the most effective (both in terms of costs and time) means of dispensing justice. Do we really want prosecutors and judges spending 80% of the available court time handling petty offenses that often result in no incarceration for defendants? The answer seems to be “no.” Most citizens want serious offenders charged with felonies to receive the lion's share of judicial resources.

Going forward, we may see misdemeanors treated as infractions (no jail and no right to counsel or jury) and some criminal cases diverted from the system into drug courts or alternative resolution proceedings.

If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime, call the Law Offices of Karlstrom & Krebs for a free consultation today!

Categories: Criminal Defense