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Money Shortage Forces Cut In Cases To Be Prosecuted

Publication Date: 
May 09, 2009
Source: 
The New York Times
Author: 
Jesse McKinley

Professor Robert Weisberg is quoted in The New York Times in an article about budget shortfalls forcing prosecutors to limit the crimes they can prosecute:

District attorneys in many parts of the country say they are considering prosecutorial rollbacks, including opting not to try some minor crimes, eliminating crime prevention and monitoring programs, and seeking to divert more defendants to so-called community court systems.

The reason: not enough money to pay lawyers to try all those crimes.

...

As jarring as the proposals can seem, no prosecutor has suggested that felonies go untried, and many of the offenses that are being downgraded in importance have long been low priorities for prosecutors.

“The notion that we prosecute all crimes for which we have probable cause is absurd,” said Robert Weisberg, professor of law and the director of Stanford Criminal Justice Center.

...

Responding to the statement that "the specificity and seriousness with which some prosecutors are spelling out the kind of cases that would go unpunished has unsettled local officials", Professor Weisberg is quoted as saying:

Some of which ... may have been the point. He said some prosecutors were no doubt using the threat of untried crimes as a way to squeeze more money out of legislators, though prosecutors say that is not the case.