Alex Gardner, the district attorney of Lane County, Or., wants to hear from the public which crimes they prefer to fight less, reports the Eugene Register-Guard. The district attorney’s $7 million budget hs been cut by $425,000. Doug Harcleroad, the former district attorney, said in April that the office won’t be able to handle about 2,000 nonviolent misdemeanor crimes this year among the 7,800 cases it will file. Gardner, who was appointed district attorney after Harcleroad’s retirement two weeks ago, he wants public involvement to help set priorities for which misdemeanor property crimes get filed, which are filed as violations, and which simply fall through the cracks. Gardner said his office will continue to handle all person-to-person crimes and drunk driving cases, offenses that endanger public safety. Cuts could come in cases where the main charge is drug possession, property theft, criminal mischief, or vice and public disorder.
Gardner sought the Register-Guard’s assistance in taking an informal survey of public opinion on petty crime priorities, asking readers to rank four types of crime in order of how important it is to prosecute them. Every option has a consequence. For example, if people want fewer felony drug possession crimes prosecuted, the county’s share of community corrections money from the state will be cut two years from now because state funding is based on the number of felony prosecutions in each county.