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Should Minor Theft be Prosecuted?

Dallas County's district attorney is facing state-wide criticism for reforms that he says will help the poorest people.

Should Minor Theft be Prosecuted?

District Attorney John Creuzot is changing how poor people are treated by the justice system in the Dallas County District. He rejects the idea, that because his office trying to make policy choices about somebody who’s hungry and somebody who’s poor, that that’s going to be translated into the populations of these areas to go forth and commit crime.

Without trying to be reckless; he’s not trying to be without regard to the public. This is a district attorney’s office that’s taken a turn from traditional district attorney’s offices in the state of Texas and across this country. Now what we are focusing on is not processing cases, but reducing recidivism and reducing cost, and we’re doing so based on data and research. Cruezot says the system should be more lenient on trespassing and petty theft. He will not prosecute theft of less than $750 if it happens out of necessity. He’s faced state-wide criticism for the reform.

According to his office’s initiative, it’s not about lawnmowers, this is not about going off and ripping off the stores, this, that, and the other—that’s not what this is about. This is about the truly poor who are truly stealing to sustain themselves. This is not somebody who’s out trying to make a living by being a thief. Creuzot doesn’t even expect that there will be a whole lot of those cases.

“We recently had a situation and it was reported in The Dallas Morning News, and it wasn’t one that any of us would be proud of, let’s be honest, where a grandmother was arrested… for stealing two pairs of pants for her grandchildren who she couldn’t afford, and she spent x-numbers of months in jail.”

He also won’t prosecute misdemeanor possession of marijuana for first-time offenders.He's also calling for a reform of bail and probation systems, and wants to lower the number of people who are homeless and mentally ill that are arrested for trespassing.

“There’s too much back and forth about it, and it’s wrong to put a mentally ill homeless person in jail and I’m not gonna wait around for however long it takes for the Dallas County and the city, I’m ready to get going.”

Brut.

05/01/2019 10:21 AMupdated: 05/01/2019 1:16 PM
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26 comments

  • Alan N.
    05/20/2019 13:02

    Then you are not doing your job...period.

  • Robert A.
    05/14/2019 11:34

    Theft is theft. If you cant do the time, dont do the crime

  • Annette C.
    05/13/2019 19:24

    Something needs to be done before they get into crime. We can’t or shouldn’t excuse the crime.

  • Oscar R.
    05/11/2019 06:24

    This happens everywhere with every justice system in the USA

  • Edward G.
    05/07/2019 01:19

    Ok! So how does one determine at the time of theft that someone is living in poverty and needs $750.00 of stollen items? How many times of year can one steal $750.00 worth of items? Who reimburses the mom and pop store that $750.00 worth of items that were stollen, and yet to be determined, how may time can they do it until the mom and pop shop closes, because they can no longer afford to stay open? So when said thief is confronted by store owner and defends their property who goes to jail???? Or do the said thief steal from corporate businesses, because they will absorb the cost than turn around and raise prices to paying customers or worse close the location, because it's not profitable??? This is a horrible idea for alot of reasons. DA's do not make laws they enforce them..... Over step for this DA!

  • Betsy H.
    05/05/2019 21:46

    Good luck

  • Jim L.
    05/05/2019 17:02

    Worth the discussion

  • Scott K.
    05/05/2019 15:13

    So the property owners need to be more pro-active in protecting themselves and their property?

  • Sandy H.
    05/04/2019 22:31

    We need more people like him in office. ❤

  • Jože Z.
    05/04/2019 06:35

    Leting anione of the hook for stealing to provide is esentialy stupid in the Long term..... You teach a bad habbit (an easy way out) btw if about 1/4 of the 30% poor People steal who is going to cover the losses ???

  • Terry S.
    05/03/2019 09:25

    Good luck sir, it’s about time someone fights for the little guy

  • Aurelia N.
    05/02/2019 08:27

    Wow! Brave man, and the kind of out-of-the-box thinking we need.

  • Nick W.
    05/02/2019 07:57

    So...say a homeless person lands a minimum wage job..is just about to get on his feet...and someone comes along and steals from him...his only work outfit...or his food. It's less than 750.00...but it costs him. There are too many out reaches and charities out there for people to be stealing.

  • David O.
    05/02/2019 07:31

    So what your saying is that because a person is poor he has the right to come onto my property steal 750 dollars worth of my property and they won’t be prosecuted....wtf is this world coming to.

  • Ngum N.
    05/01/2019 22:44

    Address why they are stealing. I'd like to see this tested.

  • Kendra N.
    05/01/2019 18:59

    Of only more DAs had this mans foresight and empathy

  • Guadalupe J.
    05/01/2019 17:45

    I agree with his approach in reducing the recidivism rate which consists of the poverty stricken, mentally ill, and the homeless. I once lived out on the streets in LA and can relate and empathize with the struggle of getting by. To be arrested and charged for such a struggle is unethical. For profit prisons and greedy political entities will not adhere to human decency. He is being critized for his approach simply because it makes sense. Anyone who has not been through such a struggle should just STFU about it and move on.

  • Brut
    05/01/2019 16:27

    Last year, the UN found poverty and potential human rights abuses similar to those in developing countries when they visited Alabama.

  • Alex C.
    05/01/2019 13:47

    Texas has people who think, Wow.

  • Cory W.
    05/01/2019 13:08

    I like this idea and wish him success