Statement from District Attorney David Capeless
Here is the text of a statement by Berkshire County District Attorney David Capeless in which he rejected calls to reconsider school-zone drug charges against some of the 18 young people arrested in a Great Barrington sting.
The May 11 statement refers to former District Attorney Gerard Downing, who died last year. Capeless, who had worked under Downing, was appointed to fill the seat and then was elected to serve the remaining two years of Downing's term.
"For over 13 years, District Attorney Downing and I pursued a policy of charging and prosecuting school zone cases, whenever the facts supported them. This past year, I have continued that policy because it is even-handed and fair, and because it has proven effective. I intend to continue that policy.
"I consider the sale of illegal drugs to be a serious crime whether it is heroin, cocaine, marijuana or LSD and serious crimes deserve serious punishment. I support the provision of drug counseling and treatment for those who desire it and would benefit from it. At the same time, I am committed to the prosecution and punishment of those who cause others to need such treatment drug dealers.
My responsibility as district attorney is to ensure the safety of the good citizens of our county. I believe I bear a special duty to protect the most vulnerable of our fellow citizens, particularly our children. The use of illegal drugs, particularly marijuana, by ever-younger children is a cause for serious concern among those in law enforcement, and we are committed to acting diligently in pursuing those who create such a threat.