District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies Announces Reforms To Drug Possession Prosecution Policy

District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies


Currently, approximately one-third of all cases in District Court in the First Judicial District are felony drug possession cases. These cases create an enormous backlog, with months-long accumulation of evidence, resulting in delayed prosecution of serious trafficking charges. These cases also represent offenders in need of substance use treatment rather than costly and counterproductive incarceration.

As District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies takes office, she has directed the office of the First Judicial District Attorney to put an effective end to the felony prosecution of drug possession cases, which use an outsized amount of already-limited resources and do little to protect public safety.

The office will transition prosecution efforts to diversion programs, including treatment and community service, for incoming cases and will attempt to plead all current felony possession cases to misdemeanors. 

“I am confident that reforming the drug possession prosecution policy will do much more to ensure the safety of our communities, shifting our resources away from people who need treatment rather than jail time and toward the effective prosecution of serious violent offenses,” said Carmack-Altwies.

This policy does not extend to distribution or trafficking charges.