DALLAS COUNTY MISDEMEANOR PROJECT
The Deason Center is researching Dallas County misdemeanor prosecutions. The first phase of this research addresses the arrest and prosecution of persons arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession. The phase one study examined cases in which simple marijuana possession was the most serious charge of arrest and the suspect was not also arrested for violating conditions of a pre-existing court supervision (such as probation, parole, or pretrial supervision). The Deason Center’s Director, Professor Pamela R. Metzger, explained: “We are focusing on those cases in which the primary justification for a person’s arrest was the possession of less than two ounces of marijuana.”
Using statistical sampling methodologies, the Deason Center concluded that, during the first eight months of 2018, the simple possession of a small quantity of marijuana was the basis for nearly 640 arrests. In at least a third and as many as half of those arrests, the defendant was forced to post cash bond or to remain in jail until the case could be resolved. To date, Dallas County judges have sentenced people to approximately 3295 days of jail time for these simple marijuana misdemeanors.