Prosecutors Suffering Budget Cuts, Put Some On Leave


A poor economy is forcing sharp cuts in prosecutors’ budgets, hampering their ability to secure appropriate sentences for some types of crimes, reports USA Today. The cuts include treating drug-related felony crimes as misdemeanors, dismantling domestic violence and child abuse units, and placing prosecutors and staff on unpaid leave to save money. “It’s pretty universal,” says Tom Sneddon, interim executive director of the National District Attorneys Association. “The money may go away, but the caseloads won’t.”

Florida’s 20 chief prosecutors have asked the legislature for relief from further budget cuts. King County, Wa., prosecutor Dan Satterberg is down 20 lawyers after a 12 percent budget cut. He’s treating most felony drug cases as misdemeanors, which can entice defendants to accept plea bargains and avoid costly trials.Law and order gets less political attention because violent crime rates have dropped, says Joshua Marquis, district attorney in Astoria, Or. “If we neglect public safety,” he warns, “there will be long-term consequences.”


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