DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas County district attorney held a press conference Friday morning to address sweeping changes aimed at ending mass incarcerations.
The reforms are changing how the DA’s office handles certain cases.
Dallas County DA John Creuzot spoke on the changes he’s planning to implement as part of his reform initiatives. He had campaigned to overhaul the criminal justice system.
He’s already dismissed more than a thousand drug possession cases in his three months in office, and he’s taking aim at dropping other low-level offenses too.
Creuzot said his office will no longer prosecute many first-time marijuana offenses and will not prosecute certain criminal trespass and theft cases involving personal items worth less than $750, unless evidence shows it was for economic gain.
“If they’re stealing $750 worth of diapers, let’s be honest. It’s gonna take a lot of little rear ends to put $750 worth of diapers on so that probably then fit that category and so we would prosecute that case because we don’t see that, or probably would not see that depending on the facts and circumstances being the theft of necessary items,” Creuzot said.
Creuzot said there’s a growing backlog on cases to prosecute, and he’s working with the police chief and the city to help find a solution.
The changes have had mixed reactions throughout the area.
“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,” said Judge Mike Snipes, former Dallas County prosecutor.
On the other hand, one shopkeeper said he’s not happy that cases like this week when someone stole $120 worth of laundry detergent 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 Andrew Arterburn, owner of the One Stop Express in Uptown.