Many Contra Costa [county] crooks won't be prosecuted (CA)

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Thread: Many Contra Costa [county] crooks won't be prosecuted (CA)

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Many Contra Costa [county] crooks won't be prosecuted (CA)

    As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle:

    Many Contra Costa crooks won't be prosecuted

    Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer

    Wednesday, April 22, 2009

    (04-21) 16:41 PDT MARTINEZ -- 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.

    "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. "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 11 more 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 district attorney'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.

    E-mail Henry K. Lee at hlee@sfchronicle.com.

    This article appeared on page B - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

    The story can be found at; http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...BAK9176EGO.DTL

    - Janq
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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    If I lived there I would be packing my stuff right now,they will have people that will feel untouchable and cops will get to the point that they will feel like why even bother
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    Member Array Chiller2's Avatar
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    While they may have made the right decision not to prosecute those crimes they sure didn't have to announce that decision to the whole world.

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    Kinda looks like civies are gonna be fair game for the BGs.
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    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    Not surprising. Budget deficits are hitting prosecutors here in King County, WA as well:

    Local News | King County's $70M budget crisis: Cuts in courts, law enforcement warned | Seattle Times Newspaper
    Under the new proposal, the prosecutor's office would direct law-enforcement agencies to automatically file any nonvehicle thefts under $10,000 in local-jurisdiction courts as third-degree thefts, which are gross misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail. Under state law, any theft over $250 can be filed as second-degree and any theft over $1,500 as first-degree, both felonies.
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    A few quick points

    Quote Originally Posted by matiki View Post
    Not surprising. Budget deficits are hitting prosecutors here in King County, WA as well:

    Local News | King County's $70M budget crisis: Cuts in courts, law enforcement warned | Seattle Times Newspaper
    1) Matiki, Thanks for the post.

    2) When folks complain about paying taxes, they have no right to complain when there isn't money for law enforcement or running either the courts or the jails.

    3) There is some sense to not filing felony charges below a large threshold amount of theft. It costs a fortune to try a felony and house a felon, but lesser charges accomplish punishment and justice as well.

    4) Inflation over many years has dramatically altered the meaning of felony theft and the DA is somewhat getting it back into perspective, though I think he set too high of a threshold at 10K.

    5) We are collectively somewhat more poor than we were in the recent past. The DA, as everyone, needs to adjust the priorities.

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    Senior Member Array sui-juris's Avatar
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    Time to leave those counties.. Nor rule of law. I can see decriminalizing drugs to save $$ but no prosecuting assaults/thefts is going too far.
    " Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master." George Washington

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    Prosecuting theft?

    Quote Originally Posted by sui-juris View Post
    Time to leave those counties.. Nor rule of law. I can see decriminalizing drugs to save $$ but no prosecuting assaults/thefts is going too far.
    I have some mental conflicts about the prosecution of theft (not robbery).

    No one likes a thief, punishment is needed, but is it really worthwhile holding a felony trial and jailing someone over a few bucks, or a few hundred bucks?

    Most theft could be handled as misdemeanors, but a 3 strikes rule would be needed. It wouldn't have to be 3 strikes gets life, but 3 petty thefts might add up to a couple of years.

    I've seen (in my community) where white collar criminals have received minor punishment for stealing tens of thousands of dollars, while poor and rather dumb kids and older teens were harshly punished for theft of goods from a corner store or the local mall.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    I have some mental conflicts about the prosecution of theft (not robbery).

    No one likes a thief, punishment is needed, but is it really worthwhile holding a felony trial and jailing someone over a few bucks, or a few hundred bucks?

    Most theft could be handled as misdemeanors, but a 3 strikes rule would be needed. It wouldn't have to be 3 strikes gets life, but 3 petty thefts might add up to a couple of years.

    I've seen (in my community) where white collar criminals have received minor punishment for stealing tens of thousands of dollars, while poor and rather dumb kids and older teens were harshly punished for theft of goods from a corner store or the local mall.
    Wait until you get robbed and they dismiss the charges and the BG laughs in your face and says, "Now I'm going to get your wife and kids."

    What's next? Well, now we are really broke so we are only going to prosecute multiple murders, not just single murders? It's a stretch, I know, but we're headed in that direction.
    Remember when people were punished for all the things they did to break the law? Remember when the law was respected, and policemen...if not respected, feared? Liberal thinking has ruined this country...and we are now a nation of those seeking entitlements...hang on, things are going to get worse before they get better.
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    VIP Member Array AllAmerican's Avatar
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    They have brought it on themselves.

    Good people should move from those states and let the drug folks move to those states.

    Then when Kommiefornia falls off the map during the BIG earthquake we'll have all those junkies gone in one fell swoop.

    Yes, I like that plan.
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    Member Array MaricopaKid's Avatar
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    2) When folks complain about paying taxes, they have no right to complain when there isn't money for law enforcement or running either the courts or the jails.

    Respectfully sir, WHEN I can specify how my taxes are spent, I will cease to complain.

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    Distinguished Member Array nutz4utwo's Avatar
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    This goes right up there with the threads about the police not being required to protect you. Now we can see that the prosecutors are not required to prosecute you. Laws are useless without the manpower to enforce them.

    A better idea: Charge guilty criminals for their trials and incarceration. Put them to work on chain gang labor doing heavy labor. Require it.

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