District Attorney Richard Smothermon announced Monday that his office is conducting a Sentencing Review Project of incarcerated offenders from his district that could be impacted by the changes to state law because of State Question 780.

District Attorney Richard Smothermon announced Monday that his office is conducting a Sentencing Review Project of incarcerated offenders from his district that could be impacted by the changes to state law because of State Question 780.

Smothermon, who is the District Attorney for both Pottawatomie and Lincoln Counties in District 23, said passage of the state question changed non-violent drug and low-level property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, meaning some previously adjudicated felonies are now considered misdemeanors.

“In light of the recent changes to state law with the passage of State Question 780, we have begun a thorough review of people who might be in prison for what would now be a misdemeanor,” Smothermon said. “It seems to me only just to review those sentences, and in appropriate cases, to release the inmate and modify the sentences as quickly as possible.”

Smothermon asked the Department of Corrections to provide him a list of all current inmates from Pottawatomie and Lincoln Counties who might have been impacted by the passage of SQ 780 or by current proposed legislation being considered this session.

That list includes 104 offenders, he said.

The cases will be reviewed to see if any of those offenders qualify for any type of sentence modification under the new law, he said.

Smothermon said these cases do not involve any type of violent offenders and include offenses such as forgery, embezzlement, larceny, false declaration of a pawn ticket, possession of controlled dangerous substance and concealing stolen property. Anyone who is believed to be a public safety risk is not part of the review, he added.

Smothermon said there could also be other things to consider in any possible sentence modification, such as supervised probation, either through the Department of Corrections or his office, as anyone being released needs the tools to be successful upon their release.

While Smothermon is branching out to do this in his district, part of the reasoning came from district attorneys across the state being asked by legislators to look at ways to reduce the prison population, he said, with this being one of the ideas.

As a result, he wants to start the process in his district now since passage of SQ 780 was the choice of the people and he feels prosecutors need to be responsible to the wishes of the people.

Watch for updates.