Laramie County D.A.: No Money To Prosecute Non-Violent Crimes
Laramie County District Attorney Leigh Anne Manlove said on Saturday that state budget cuts have forced her agency to stop prosecuting most non-violent crimes due to a lack of resources.
Manlove made the comments on the ''Weekend In Wyoming" program on Saturday on AM. 650, KGAB.
She also said the situation may get worse before it gets better, due to the funding issues faced by the state. Her office is funded through the state rather than by local government. Manlove said that even before being hit with a six percent funding cut, resources were stretched thin. But she said with the additional cut in state money, there simply is not enough money to allow her office to go after people for crimes like shoplifting, auto burglary, and similar crimes that do not involve physical injury or the threat of injury to victims.
The impact of the cuts has cost her office a legal assistant and two attorney positions that remain unfilled due to lack of funding. Additionally, her office is having to furlough the eqivalent of one and a half staff positions. So, she said, prosecutors are priioritizing violent crimes.
She said the crimes she has prioritized include violent felonies, people arrested for DUI who already have at least one conviction, domestic violence cases, and crimes against children. In at least one recent case, that meant her office had to decline a case in which a person allegedly had stolen over $30,000 worth of items.
According to Manlove, while simple drug possession cases usually won't be prosecuted, federal grant money pays for the prosecution of large scale drug traffickers. Manlove says that with further state funding cuts looming in the future, the funding situation for her office is likely to get worse before it gets better.
You can hear the entire Leigh Anne Manlove interview from the ''Weekend in Wyoming'' program on Saturday, Oct. 31 in the audio attached to this article.