Tulsa County DA opposes state questions on justice reform
By RANDY KREHBIEL World Staff Writer
Almost everyone connected with the state’s criminal justice system, it seems, agrees Oklahoma puts too many people in jail.
They don’t always agree, though, on what to do about it.
Many prosecutors, for instance, are leery of two state questions that address the issue by eliminating felony drug possession from the state penal code, and by creating a special rehabilitation fund for those whose criminal activity is driven by addiction or mental health problems.
If voters approve State Question 780, simple possession will be a misdemeanor regardless of circumstances, although other charges can still be “stacked” on. State Question 780’s companion, SQ 781, creates the special fund for substance abuse and mental health treatment, but is contingent on passage of SQ 780.
Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler says eliminating the felony possession option is a mistake.
“Every possession of every drug will be a misdemeanor, whether it’s the first time or the 20th time,” Kunzweiler said.