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More Cannabis Misdemeanor Cases to be Tossed Out In Seattle

The growing pattern of released prisoners and cannabis misdemeanor cases being tossed out continued with Seattle, Washington recently. Seattle’s Mayor Jenny Durkan and the City Lawyer Pete Holmes spoke before the media revealing their intentions to have every cannabis misdemeanor case from before 2012 threw out.

The hopes of exonerating people with cannabis misdemeanors on their records is to unlock to job, housing and school chances for individuals that may otherwise be declined due to their rap sheets. Holmes tossed out all cannabis belongings cases after becoming city attorney in 2010, but prepares to take that another action even more now.

Durkan and City Lawyer Pete Holmes estimate more than 500 criminal convictions will be removed from court records. Most represent cases prosecuted between 1997 through 2009, which accounts for the period when pot misdemeanor cases were prosecuted in Seattle’s local court. Prior to 1997 they were tried in county court, over which city officials have no jurisdiction.

The decision to undo the convictions depends on the courts, according to Holmes. “Nevertheless,” he stated, “this is a circumstances where the district attorney is bringing the movement to leave and dismiss and those instances there is hardly any discretion on the part of the judge.”

Citing data from the Drug Policy Alliance, Durkan’s office said marijuana possession arrests in Washington increased greatly from about 4,000 in 1986 to about 11,000 in 2010, amounting to 240,000 arrests. In Washington state, African Americans were jailed at 2.9 times the rate of whites during the first years of this century. Latinos and Native Americans were arrested at 1.6 times the rate of whites.

This is not the first time the city is tossing out cannabis cases. Soon after his election in 2010, Holmes dismissed all marijuana-possession cases and stated his workplace would not prosecute such offenses, The Seattle Times reported.

Unfortunately, many other cannabis misdemeanor cases in the state of Washington will not be thrown out given that they do not fall under the city of Seattle’s jurisdiction. How long until other city attorney’s in Washington fix the records of the unjustly judged?

read more at npr.org

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