Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Peterson has accused county prosecutor Jessica Cooper of trying to bring down the county’s drug court program after she got into a dispute with judges about the expense of prosecuting drug court cases.
Cooper argues the drug courts are not worth keeping, and that they are a waste of taxpayers’ money.
“They fail 70 percent of the time at a cost of $6 million and they’re racially skewed. I’m trying to use the county’s very scarce funds to prosecute criminals,” said Cooper.
Patterson, who was needless to say displeased with Cooper’s actions, called her out publicly.
“The prosecutor has chosen to pull her lawyers out to of the drug courts, which effectively shuts them down,” said Patterson.
But Cooper defended herself by stating that it is her job to let the public know when their money is not being put to good use.
“We have a program that doesn’t work. It hasn’t work in 10 years. We’ve graduated 10 people a year at a cost of $6 million a year to the taxpayer,” Cooper argued. “We could use this money in so many other ways. I would be so much more effective for the people who need it.”
But Patterson claims the drug courts are effective, and have helped many people turn their lives around.
“I’ve seen letters where guys who were headed for a life of crime and skid row and now they’re gainfully employed, they’re married, they’re starting to have a family and become productive citizens because of the drug courts,” Patterson said.
Patterson spoke out against Cooper when Cooper sent a letter to judges notifying them that she was withdrawing her participation in the drug court program due to economic reasons.
Cooper did ask judges to order defendants to pay prosecution costs in an effort to recoup some of the taxpayers’ money, but was largely rejected.
Meanwhile Patterson remains firm in his belief that drug courts not only save lives, but also keep people out of jail.
Are you facing drug charges? Are you interested in learning more about this topic? Please do not hesitate to contact an experienced Oakland County drug crime defense lawyer at Freedman & Freedman today!