District attorneys are the most powerful players in the criminal justice system. But most people still don’t know who they are or what they do. Filter has conducted a first-of-its-kind investigation into where DAs representing the 50 most populous counties in the US stand on drug policy.
Our focus is on four issues: marijuana legalization, drug-induced homicide charges, mandatory minimum drug sentences, and criminal-justice approaches for addiction including drug courts and diversion programs. Spoiler: These elected prosecutors are largely out of step with the people to whom they’re responsible.
You can read the full report by investigator Rory Fleming here. And check out the graphics below (updated to reflect the outcomes of the November 6 elections).
DAs on Drugs
Supports marijuana legalization?
- Did not support pre state legalization
Has used drug-induced homicide charges?
- Not found
- Open to charging
- Yes, for doctors
Supports mandatory minimum sentences for drugs?
- Uses without criticism
- Uses with criticism
Diversion programs or drug court?
- Not found
- LEAD Program
- CLEAR Program
- Drug court model
DAs on Drugs
|wdt_ID||County, State||District Attorney *||Up For (Re-)Election||Supports marijuana legalization?||Has used drug-induced homicide charges?||Supports mandatory minimum sentences for drugs?||Diversion programs or drug court?|
|1||Los Angeles, CA||Jackie Lacey (NP) x||2020||Did not support pre-state legalization||Yes, for doctors||N/A||Drug court model|
|2||Cook, IL||Kimberly M. Foxx (D) -||2020||Decriminalization||Yes||N/A||Drug court model|
|3||Harris, TX||Kim Ogg (D) x||2020||Decriminalization||Not found||N/A||Drug court model|
|4||Maricopa, AZ||Bill Montgomery (R) -||2020||No||Not found||Yes||Drug court model|
|5||San Diego, CA||Summer Stephan (NP) ✓||2022||Did not support pre-state legalization||Yes||N/A||Drug court model|
|7||Orange, CA||Todd Spitzer (NP) -||2022||Did not support pre-state legalization||Not found||N/A||Not found|
|8||Miami-Dade, FL||Katherine Fernandez Rundle (D) -||2020||Cite-and-release||Open to charging||Uses without criticism||Drug court model|
|9||Kings, NY||Eric Gonzalez (D) ✓||2021||Decriminalization||Not found||Uses with criticism||CLEAR program|
|11||Dallas, TX||John Creuzot (D) -||2022||Cite-and-release||Not found||N/A||Drug court model|
|12||Queens, NY||Richard A. Brown (D) -||2019||No||Yes, for doctors||Yes||Drug court model|
[* “✓”=responded to survey, “x”=refused, “-” = no response]
You are welcome to embed these graphics to your website via iframe; html code is available here.
The artwork is by Sarah Etten. It depicts: Mike Freeman (Hennepin, MN); Nico LaHood (Bexar, TX); Madeline Singas (Nassau, NY); Amy Weirich (Shelby, TN); Katherine Fernandez Rundle (Miami-Dade, FL); and Ron O’Brien (Franklin, Ohio).