JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Jefferson County Sheriff Mark Pettway has decided to hold off for now on a new policy announced earlier this week of not arresting people for misdemeanor marijuana possession.
The policy would have meant a minor drug possession would not equal automatic jail time, but instead: a citation for misdemeanor marijuana possession.
Pettway talked with the District Attorney about the policy, according to the public relations firm who represents the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.
When it came to making arrests and putting people in jail for minor marijuana possession, Capt. David Agee with the Sheriff’s Office made this announcement. “We would rather use this (citation) than these (handcuffs).”
Sheriff’s Deputies would give tickets like traffic tickets. The offender would still have to go to court and face penalties, but that idea now on hold.
After the change was announced, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall questioned the policy.
Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr said he backed the idea of the 'Big Ticket’ just a proposal and something for people to talk about and discuss.
Birmingham defense attorney and legal analyst Roger Appell said the ‘Big Ticket’ policy is a good policy. “I think it’s a great idea. It makes perfect sense. You got all of the heavy crimes, robbery, rape, murder, kidnapping, drug trafficking. It takes a lot of time from the police,” Appell said.
Appell said if there is a question of legal authority to do the ‘Big Ticket’ policy, then a new law should be passed. “A simple, clean solution - get the Alabama legislature to pass a bill. We are in session right now. It’s not like we are overwhelmed with other things to do,” Appell said.
Appell says it appears the Sheriff may have jumped the gun, but ‘Big Ticket’ is a good program he and others hope to see come back.