This week, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson has announced
the establishment of new pretrial diversion programs.
As reported by
Chron, the new programs will focus on those suspected of shoplifting, drug possession,
and other non-violent charges.
Last May, the MacArthur Foundation bestowed $150,000 to Harris County to
conduct new research on how to improve its criminal justice system. The
funding was provided after the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council worked
with Anderson to apply for the grant. Harris County—along with other
U.S. jurisdictions—will receive additional funding to put their
plans in effect later this year.
The pretrial diversion programs will allow those facing certain non-violent
charges to forgo incarceration and instead submit to other penalties or
treatment. They will especially focus on those who continue to cycle through
local jails without addressing related causes to their recidivism (like
A New Outlook on Certain Offenses
While this is one of the first efforts to reevaluate the sentencing of
non-violent crimes in Harris County, national perspective on these kinds
of charges may be beginning to shift. In California, voters passed Proposition
47 in 2014, which re-classified many non-violent crimes as misdemeanors
in an effort to reduce the burden on local jails and fund community programs.
It is unclear when precisely the new pretrial diversion programs will be
ready—but it is certain that skilled defense representation will
be needed to enroll in them. While an accused's enrollment in a diversion
program will be left up the court, their eligibility will have to be adequately
petitioned for by capable counsel.
If you have been charged with a crime and are interested in exploring your
defense options with an accomplished and trusted Houston criminal defense
lawyer, then we invite you to contact
Guerra & Farah, PLLC today. Our award-winning legal team has helped countless clients avoid
maximum penalty and receive every consideration they deserve before the law.
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