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Can drug crimes be controlled in Minnesota?

Posted in Illegal Drugs January 21st, 2006 @ 11:59 pm

Recently, according to the Star Tribune a woman was shot during a drug raid by the Southeastern Minnesota Narcotics Task force and other area law enforcement agencies. No details were given on whether she was a repeat user or dealer. How can Minnesota control drug crimes without a serious outcome that recently happened?

One approach being discussed comes from appeals court Judge Donald Lay of St. Paul, Minnesota. He wants to approach federal drug crimes in a different way by setting up specialized drug courts similar to what the state court is doing now. These courts would take people charged with drug crimes and divert them into treatment rather than going through a trial and possible jail time. A judge would be personally in charge of these criminals and would know the history of the offender. He claims that the state courts have proven success with these specialized drug courts.

However, some prosecutors claim that these courts proposed by Judge Donald Lay would not work in the federal system. The drug crimes seen in federal court are more serious and not based on addiction alone. Federal courts see drug crimes that involve whole neighborhoods, drug dealers, business people, and people who are violent drug offenders like gang members.

So how can drug crimes be controlled when you have crimes being committed by the users and by dealers? Are drug interdiction treatments and no jail time the answer for users? Will this same method work for more violent offenders? Maybe it’s time to give Judge Lay’s approach in controlling drug crimes. Then Minnesotans won’t see such a serious outcome that recently happened.

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