Pubdate: Thu, 12 Aug 1999
Source: Isthmus (WI)
Author: Bill Lueders
Related: and


Mayor Sue Bauman, responding to Isthmus' July 30 article on criminal
prosecutions for marijuana possession, says she "continues to believe that
small amounts of marijuana for personal use should be handled through the
Madison ordinance," rather than charged as crimes, as Madison police are now
doing in the majority of cases.

Noting that officers have discretion in handling these cases, Bauman says
Assistant Police Chief Ted Balistreri "has agreed to review the police
reports to determine whether, with hindsight, more citations and less
criminal com plaints should have been issued"

"We want to take a look at developing a policy that offers direction to
officers,' says Balistreri, adding that the department wants its enforcement
priorities to reflect community opinion. Hopes to have a new interim policy
in place in two or three weeks.

Both Bauman and Balistreri are stumped by a claim made by Assistant Dane
County District Attorney Ken Farmer in a Feb. 2 memo to District Attorney
Diane Nicks that "police are against" reducing charges to city ordinance
violations. "I have no idea where Ken Farmer got that information or what he
is referring to," says Bauman. Balistreri is meeting with Nicks this week to
resolve this and other issues.

Nicks did not return a phone call from Isthmus. But someone from her office
did call John Nichols of The Capital Times to chide him for using Isthmus'
story as the basis for an Aug. 4 editorial taking Nicks to task for failing
to follow through on campaign promises to make pot prosecutions a low
priority. Nichols asked the caller, who he "has no doubt" was acting at
Nicks' behest, to identify anything in the article that was incorrect and
was told, "We'll have to get back to you." He's still waiting.

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