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Questions Raised Over Paying Restitution To Reduce Felony Pot Cases To Misdemeanors

The General

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Faced with a flood of felony marijuana cases, one California district attorney came up with a plan to allow defendants to pay restitution in exchange for reduced charges and probation. The way David Eyster, the Mendocino County district attorney, sees it, his approach reimburses law enforcement agencies for their time and resources. The option, explored in-depth by Los Angeles Times reporter Lee Romney, is available only to people without criminal histories and for people who haven't committed major violations of the state's medical marijuana law. People who grow on public lands also aren't eligible.

The plan allows people to pay $50 per plant and $500 per pound of processed marijuana, the LA Times reports. But Eyster's approach has come under fire from defense attorneys and even one judge who called it extortion. Legal analysts also have raised concerns about the potential for unequal treatment of defendants and the incentive for officers to focus on lucrative targets at the expense of those more menacing to public safety. "It suggests a two-tiered system of justice," said Alex Kreit, associate professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, "where people who don't have the money for the restitution or don't have assets they can use as a bargaining chip may get more severe criminal punishments." Eyster counters that he personally handles every marijuana case, and can opt to lower fines or not prosecute indigent suspects.


News Moderator - The General @ 420 MAGAZINE ®
Source: Oregonlive.com
Author: Noelle Crombie
Contact: Contact Us || Oregonian Media Group
Website: Marijuana news: Questions raised over paying restitution to reduce felony pot cases to misdemeanors | OregonLive.com
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