DA: Budget cuts mean some criminals will just get a ticket

DA: Budget cuts mean some criminals will just get a ticket

PORTLAND, Ore. – Cutbacks in funding for police and the legal system in Oregon means some crimes will be treated as a ticketing offense rather than an arrest and court appearance.

Multnomah County released a long list of offenses that will be treated as ticketing offenses, including shoplifting, some drug possession charges and other offenses that police say they are now too short-staffed to properly deal with.
 
Those persons convicted of the crimes will be able to pay a fine to settle the matter, leaving a reduced legal staff to focus on more violent or serious cases.
 
In a press release, District Attorney Michael Schrunk said the Misdemeanor Trial Unit Level One attorney staff has been reduced from 8 attorneys to 6 and the Misdemeanor Intake Unit attorney staff has been reduced from 3 attorneys to 2. 
 
“To accommodate this 27 percent reduction in staff, the... changes in the prosecution of misdemeanor crimes was implemented on July 16, 2010, followed by the implementation of these clarifications to be effective September 1, 2010, exclusive of cases traditionally prosecuted by the Domestic Violence Unit,” Schrunk said in the release.
 
You can see a full list of the criminal offenses being downgraded or staying the same here (PDF link).