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Courts and Crime

AG candidate Pepper wants to tighten drug sentences
He says a law mandating that judges often opt for community control encourages dealers

Andy Chow
David Pepper wants to tighten sanctions for dealers of lower amounts of heroin.
Courtesy of ANDY CHOW
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In The Region:

The Democratic nominee for attorney general is laying out more details on how he thinks the state should handle its heroin problem.

Drug trafficking and addiction has been a major talking point in David Pepper’s campaign. Today Pepper announced his support for a bill that would allow judges to more easily sentence people to prison who commit fourth and fifth-degree drug felonies.

Pepper says judges now must opt for halfway houses or some other community-control, even if they’re sentencing dealers caught with up to 50 doses of heroin.

LISTEN: Pepper on drug sentences

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“The law basically has dealers—they know that if they keep under 49 units for that first time offense they’re not going to go to prison they’re simply going to get probation and I think this law corrects that.”

The bill, which has bipartisan support, has passed out of committee but has yet to receive a vote on the House floor. 

Incumbent Attorney General Mike DeWine has also talked about the state’s heroin crisis, and last year launched a task force to battle it. But Pepper says that doesn’t go far enough. 

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