Kevin Frye Challenges Disparities in Enforcement & Questions Policy Failures Behind Local “War on Drugs”

Founding Partner Kevin Frye recently confronted disparities the criminal justice system in the Oxford and Lafayette County community during representation of a client charged with a drug crime, and in doing so was able to prevent a sentence requiring jail/incarceration.

The Mississippi Free Press reported that:

“An Asian man facing prison time on a drug charge got a plea deal soon after [Frye] alleged selective prosecution and used the Oxford Police Department’s own data to reveal worsening patterns of racial disparities for arrests and prosecution of drug charges. Now, he is facing five years of supervised probation instead.

In our community, as in the rest of the nation, the war on drugs has proven to be a failure of policy,” [Frye] said in a later interview with the Mississippi Free Press. “That’s one reason we see the [University of Mississippi] making strides away from punitive treatments and toward a public health approach to their students with respect to controlled substances.” 

Frye added that his clients are his first priority, but said that he has a professional obligation to ensure the fair and equitable operation of the local criminal justice system.

Frye said the Lafayette County, Oxford and University of Mississippi community is critical in the development of young people and that community leaders must “make sure that our values that we impart while people are in Oxford include fairness, transparency and accountability, but also grace for when people fail to meet expectations.”

Grace Marion and Christian Middleton, Asian Man Gets Plea Deal on Drug Charge After Attorney Reveals Racial Disparities in Enforcement, Mississippi Free Press, (May 25, 2021), https://www.mississippifreepress.org/12479/asian-man-gets-plea-deal-on-drug-charge-after-attorney-reveals-racial-disparities-in-enforcement/