Judge Michael McSpadden, who presides over the 209th Judicial District Court in Harris County, sent a letter to top state officials and the representatives and senators from Harris County asking them to reduce felony cases involving less than a gram of cocaine to misdemeanors. Judge McSpadden proposed mandatory treatment and the creation of misdemeanor drug courts.
According to Judge McSpadden, at least a quarter of the felony court dockets are cases involving possession of less than a gram.
Fifteen other Harris County judges also signed the letter.
“The ‘War on Drugs’ isn’t working, and we as judges realize it,” McSpadden said. “And the public realizes it.
But Harris County D.A. Pat Lykos raised questions of whether such a reform would be in anyone's best interest. Ms. Lykos stated that reducing possession to a misdemeanor would mean more inmates in the Harris County Jail. She also said that small drug arrests tend to drive out other criminal activity in an area. Finally, Ms. Lykos said that all drug users have blood on their hands due to drug cartel violence.
- Read Grits' account of Judge McSpadden's letter to state officials in 2006.