Monday, January 08, 2007

Time for Some Lawmakin'

So, the legislature is back in session, and it's time for some new laws. Back when I started this blog, the Texas legislature was in session, considering all sorts of weird and wacky bills, (and some good ones, too, I'll admit), and it gave me a lot to blog about. So, I figured it's time to start looking into what is being proposed here in my new state, and also to talk about changes I'd like to see.

I'll start with this: They need to change the values that are required for thefts and malicious mischiefs (vandalism) to qualify as felonies. Right now, theft or property damage of over $250 constitutes a felony. I'm not sure the last time the legislature addressed these values, but I'm told it's been a loooooong time--in other words, the legislature made a $250 theft a felony back when $250 was worth way more than it is now. Back in Texas, it took $1500 for theft or mischief to be a felony, and I think that is much more appropriate. Felonies are supposed to be the more serious crimes, and throwing a bunch of relatively minor thefts and mischiefs into the felony pot is a waste of the resources that should be devoted to more serious offenses. It also concerns me how many clients I have who have cases worth trying, but who are so concerned about a felony conviction, that they are willing to take a plea bargain to a misdemeanor charge, even while saying that they are innocent.

So, how about joining the 21st century on this one, legislature? I think a value of $1500 is about right, but I'd settle for $1000.

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2 Comments:

Blogger ACS said...

In Florida $300 is felony theft (or repeat offenders can also be felons), but criminal mischief has to be over $1,000. Of course, we have some reasonable prosecutors and often I'd see cases downfiled although the state could probably prove up a case if they really wanted to.

1/08/2007 9:02 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

our legislature just changed it so larceny, shoplifting, and fraud (among others) now all have the same dollar values to make it less confusing. $100 or less is petty misdemeanor, $101-$250 is misdemeanor, and above $250 is a felony. The funny thing is that writing a worthless check over $25 is still a felony! They couldn't get the retail lobby on board, I guess.

1/14/2007 6:39 PM  

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