Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Criminals and Liberals Rejoice! Many Crimes In CoCo County Will No Longer Be Prosecuted!

From SFGate:

Misdemeanor crimes 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.

"We had to make very, very difficult choices, and we had to try to prioritize things. There are no good choices to be made here," said Kochly, a 35-year veteran prosecutor. "It's trying to choose the lesser of certain evils in deciding what we can and cannot do."

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."

Don't even bother submitting the cases, Kochly said Monday in a memo to the Contra Costa County Police Chiefs Association, representing local police chiefs. "If they are submitted, they will be screened out by category by support staff and returned to your department without review by a deputy district attorney," he wrote.

Kochly wrote that he had long taken pride in saying that his office could do "more with less."

"Unfortunately, we have now reached a point where we cannot maintain the status quo," he said. "We will definitely be doing 'less with less' as a prosecution agency."

The changes are needed to help eliminate a $1.9 million budget deficit in the district attorney's office for this fiscal year. By month's end, six deputy district attorneys will be laid off, and another 11 will have to be let go by the end of the year, Kochly said.

The county Board of Supervisors originally proposed cutting the office's budget by $4.1 million. But after Kochly argued that such a reduction would hurt his ability to prosecute petty thefts, the board used sales-tax revenue to close the gap.

Supervisor John Gioia, who represents Richmond, said the list of crimes that Kochly says he won't prosecute is far longer now than what he told the board during its budget deliberations.

"I don't think it's a good idea for the chief prosecutor in the county to inform the public at large what cases they're not going to prosecute," Gioia said.

The district attorney's decision was upsetting news to Janet Kelleghan, an employee at Donna's Gifts in Concord, which has been victimized by thieves in the past.

"If they know they're not going to be prosecuted, there's going to be a lot more shoplifting," Kelleghan said. "I'd ask them to reconsider," she said of the DA's office.

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.

So... the obvious question is, is this just a bluff? Putting this all out in public would seem to be a pretty calculating move on the D.A.'s part. They're obviously counting on public outrage to get some things moving.

Still... the fact this is even coming up is pretty disturbing, though to be honest, this has been going on out of the public eye for some time now. Misdemeanor cases are being dropped everywhere, and even felonies can be plead down to nothing (SF D.A. Kamala Harris' favorite tactic).

You liberals must be very proud. You are finally getting the anarchy you've been agitating for.


William Lovan said...

Whew, finally - 'Bout damn time!
Now as long as I keep my stash reasonably small I don't have to be constantly stressin' lookin' out over my shoulder for the po-po.

Good news!

Anonymous said...

I moved from Pittsburg,Ca. in 1997.
Contra Costa was a toilet then, now it must be South Africa.

Can't say "God Bless America" anymore because God gave up on this country.