AUSTIN, Texas — The Travis County district attorney’s office has abandoned a program that imposed stiffer penalties for crimes committed near restaurants, clubs and other places in the popular downtown entertainment district.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that District Attorney Margaret Moore has scrapped the Downtown Initiative Program after deciding that sentences for arrests on Sixth Street should be consistent with those elsewhere in the city.

Officials introduced the program in 2011 to cut crime in the heart of the city. Approximately 200 to 300 cases each year were prosecuted under the initiative.

Defense attorneys have cheered Moore’s decision, saying sentencing recommendations for crimes downtown were unfair and unusually harsh.

Information from: Austin American-Statesman,

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