DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Dallas County Criminal District Attorney John Creuzot, who campaigned on criminal justice reform, announced he no longer plans to prosecute certain low-level crimes.
His office is in the process of dropping many of those cases.
He’s already dismissed more than 1,000 drug possession cases during his first three months in office.
Shortly after being elected in November 2018, Creuzot said, “On my agenda is to not ask judges to send people to the penitentiary for technical violations of their probation – for instance not doing community service, not paying fines and fees.”
In a letter to the people of Dallas County, Creuzot said his office will no longer prosecute many first-time marijuana offenses or any drug possession cases involving less than .01 grams of a drug.
Former Dallas County Prosecutor, Judge Mike Snipes said, “I think it’s forward looking. I think it’s pioneering… People who have minor offenses have a better chance of rehabilitating their life and getting back on track.”
Creuzot said he’ll dismiss many criminal trespass cases as well, charges he says are most often brought against the mentally ill and homeless.
He also said his office will no longer prosecute theft cases involving personal items worth less than $750, unless evidence shows it was for economic gain.
But Andrew Arterburn, the owner of One Stop Express in Uptown said a shoplifter just stole $120 worth of laundry detergent on Thursday and he’s not happy to find out cases like this could be dismissed.
“It’s a slap on the wrist. They go to jail, get a meal, get let go. And they’re not going to be prosecuted at all for it,” said Arterburn.
The President of the National Black Police Association, Sgt. Sheldon Smith, said he worries it will lead to more crime.
“It opens the door for some people to think they can commit crimes,” Sgt. Smith said.
Dallas County Sheriff Marian Brown told CBS 11, her office will continue to enforce the laws as mandate by state legislation.
Creuzot has also pledged to push for shorter probation sentences and recommend lower bond amounts as part of his reform.