State District Judge Michael McSpadden has presided over Houston's criminal cases since 1982. In that time, he said, the "War on Drugs" has been lost and he has changed his mind about his "get tough on crime" stance. He urges a policy of treatment and second chances for addicts.Hear, hear!
"Pat Lykos and I are not close, and in fact probably don't like each other, but she's right about this," the veteran jurist said this week. "Almost everyone's in agreement except, I guess, the police unions."
McSpadden said he, not Lykos, has led the charge to change how these trace cases are handled.
"No one respects law enforcement more than I do, but they're wrong about this," McSpadden said. "I want them out there going after the career criminals, the sex offenders, the people who pose a real threat to our society, and not someone who has a residue amount of drugs."
Encouragingly, the reader comments under the Houston Chronicle story were, with few exceptions, overwhelmingly supportive of Lykos' stance and critical of the unions. Given the usual bent of Chronicle commenters, I found that surprising, but it confirms my sense that the issue the unions and Anderson chose to portray the incumbent DA as "soft on crime" will at best fall flat and potentially even backfire.
MORE: From Drug War Rant.