DALLAS COUNTY MISDEMEANOR PROJECT
In 2018, the Deason Center researched Dallas County misdemeanor prosecutions. The research explored misdemeanor marijuana possession prosecutions in Dallas County. The research also considered racial disparities in the prosecution of misdemeanants charged with low level drug crimes. The Deason Center’s Director, Professor Pamela R. Metzger, explained: “We focused 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. In the first eight months of 2018, Dallas County judges sentenced people to approximately 3,295 days of jail time for these simple marijuana misdemeanors.