New St. Louis Prosecutor makes changes in policy
St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell took office at the beginning of the year. The County will no longer prosecute marijuana possession cases of fewer than 100 grams. Prosecution of more than 100 grams will be pursued only if evidence suggests the sale or distribution of marijuana. In comparison, the City of St. Louis announced in June that possession of fewer than 100 grams would not be prosecuted unless there are aggravating circumstances.
The County will no longer prosecute people who fail to pay child support. However, current cases will not be dropped. Those cases will be placed on hold. The idea is to not revoke probation purely upon the failure to pay child support. Similarly, the County will not press charges against those who do not pay restitution unless there is a court order that establishes a person’s “willful nonpayment” of child support.
The County will no longer be requesting cash bail on misdemeanor cases. And instead of warrants for Class D and E felony cases, the County will now issue a summons.
The County also will not seek to “overcharge” defendants “to pressure the accused to admit guilt.” Prosecutors are barred from adding more counts to increase the range of punishment or threatening to route cases back to a grand jury if a defendant has exercised his or her pretrial constitutional rights.
We shall soon start to see what the impact will be, positive or negative, upon the people in the St. Louis County region.