Hundreds of Low-Level Marijuana Offenses Could Be Thrown Out in Brooklyn

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December 2, 2016
Denver, CO

The Brooklyn District Attorney, Kenneth Thompson, has assembled a team that is reviewing hundreds of low-level marijuana offenses that the department could decline to prosecute, DNAinfo reports.Last week, Thompson laid out his plan to cease prosecution of minor marijuana arrests. The team, comprised of prosecutors from the Early Case Assessment Bureau, is currently examining a number of these cases on a case-by-case basis to determine if individuals in question merit spending time and money to prosecute. This practice will continue in Brooklyn from this point forward. Thompson hopes that Brooklyn will become an example for the nation. He said, “We have not found any other DA in the country where marijuana is illegal who’s willing to take a different approach like [Brooklyn’s]. We think it’s important.”

Thompson went on to say that he is not worried about the New York Police Department’s vow to continue making arrests for low-level marijuana offenses, as he says the DA’s office and the NYPD “don’t have identical interests.” He continued, “We’re not asking the NYPD to do anything differently. If they find someone who’s committed an offense, they have the right to arrest that person. What we’re saying is, once the person has been arrested and we get notified, then we have an obligation to look at the facts of each case and to determine whether we should spend resources on prosecuting that case.” Thompson said that the new policy is the culmination of his vow to keep young people out of the criminal justice system.

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