Colorado Springs drug possession defense attorneys have been closely following the developments out of Denver, where lawmakers some lawmakers are battling for reduced penalties for certain Colorado Springs drug offenses.
The fight is getting ugly.
According to the Aurora Sentinel, Sen. Pat Steadman had originally introduced the measure as a means to cut down on taxpayer expenses, as well as put an end to the revolving door that seems to occur with those prosecuted for low-level drug offenses – people who are struggling with addiction, rather than any deep-seeded criminal intent.
The measure would have reduced the penalties from felonies to misdemeanors, with stipulations for seeking help with their addictions, while simultaneously easing the burden of overcrowded jails and prisons.
However, the measure has been changed from a bill to a study, and Steadman blames one of Denver’s top prosecutors, Mitch Morrissey (also a Democrat) for weakening his efforts. In fact, Steadman went so far as to call Morrissey a “snake” and a “villain” – strong words, indeed.
Morrissey, though, had argued against the bill because it would have essentially meant a dismantling of the city’s drug court, which would have included elimination of the access to treatment that the court provides. Steadman denies this would have happened.
Steadman contends that a great amount of misinformation and lies were spread about the bill, and that individuals like Morrissey were responsible.
The prosecutor had testified in opposition to the measure while at a legislative committee in early April. He told lawmakers that the drug court was the most effective way to handle low-level drug crimes. He said because very few individuals would qualify for the court under the bill, the court would not have enough funding to sustain itself, and would therefore close.
Now that the bill has been reduced to a study, that simply means that Steadman and those working with him will have until the end of this year to make a more comprehensive proposal to the legislature. Perhaps the added amendments in regards to Colorado Springs drug crimes will appease those on both sides of the aisle, as reduced penalties only serves to benefit everyone.