OREGON DISTRICT ATTORNEYS
Reports of Interest
Survey Finds Oregonians Feel Less Safe: Survey highlights Oregonian's concern with their safety and proposed reform legislation (February 15, 2022)
A survey commissioned by the Oregon District Attorneys Association found that 55% of Oregonians feel less safe in their communities than they did two years ago and 58% feel the State is headed in the wrong direction when it comes to the issues of public safety and protecting the public from crime.
The survey explores decisions from Oregon's leadership that directly affect public safety. Specifically Oregonians' shared strong opinions on pending and recent proposals before the Legislature including pre-trial release, early release of violent offenders, mandatory minimum sentencing and victim notification.
"The survey data reflects exactly what our elected District Attorneys hear in our communities across the State every day, from Oregon City to Salem to Medford and Pendleton. The general public is concerned about their safety and the policies coming out of the State Legislature and from the Governor," said ODAA President and Marion County District Attorney Paige Clarkson.
The survey found that 61.8% of Oregonians believe that Oregon's political leadership, including the Governor and Legislature has been "too soft" on crime and overwhelmingly support increased resources for police and prosecutors. Click here to read the full press release and view the complete survey data.
Coos County DA Press Release (November 1, 2021)
On September 28, 2021, Governor Kate Brown sent a letter to the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) asking DOC to identify youth who were "sentenced prior to the effective date of  SB 1008 and did not benefit from its changes to our juvenile justice system". The letter then set forth certain criteria to be considered by the DOC in developing the list. The purpose of this list was to assist the governor in deciding whether these individuals should have their sentences commuted. This letter is attached to this press release. Click here to download full press release.
The list was divided into two groups. One group contained the names of persons meeting the criteria in the Governor's September 28 letter and who had served 15 years or more of their sentence. The other group named those who will have served 50% of their sentence by the end of the year 2022.
On October 20, 2021, a copy of that list with its two groups, was given to the elected district attorneys of the State of Oregon. I personally hoped that before any action was taken by the governor, that the district attorneys for the counties where the youth were adjudicated would be consulted as to the facts of the case and more importantly, to allow the district attorneys to notify the victims and their families that the governor was considering commuting the sentence of the youth that had victimized them. Click here to read more.
ODAA Ballot Measure 11 Press Release (February 10, 2021)
SALEM, OR— Today the Oregon District Attorneys Association (ODAA) released an important data driven overview of Ballot Measure 11 and the pending reform and repeal proposals pending before the 2021 Oregon Legislature. The report contains three components: (1) Executive Summary; (2) Measure 11 Fact Sheet; and (3) a chart explaining the impact of proposed legislative changes to Measure 11.
"This data is consistent with what I personally know from working directly with victims of violent crime throughout my career—Measure 11 keeps our community safer. While I support responsible reforms, repealing Measure 11 will not bring more justice to victims, make Oregonians safer, or sentencing more equitable,” said Washington County District Attorney Kevin Barton
Measure 11 provides minimum sentence requirements for Oregon’s most physically and sexually violent crimes. It passed with 65% of the vote in 1994, it was reaffirmed in 2000 by 73% of the vote, and statewide polls have gauged voter support at 72% in 2013 and 78% in 2020.
“What this data shows is that after Measure 11 passed, Oregon’s violent crime rate dropped dramatically and more than anywhere else in the nation. Over the past 27 years, Oregon’s violent crime rate has dropped by more than 50%,” shared ODAA Executive Director Michael Wu.
There are currently 4 separate proposals before the Oregon Legislature that seek to reduce prison sentences for Oregon’s most violent and sexually dangerous criminals – and many dramatically so (see SB 191, SB 401, HB 2002 and HB 2172). All of the bills would require a 2/3 vote in each Chamber – or 40 House Members and 20 Senate Members.
“We hope that Legislators from across Oregon hear from their constituents on these sweeping reform and repeal proposals. While they have spoken before at the ballot box in favor of mandatory minimum sentences for violent felonies, our Legislators need to hear it again. The proposals as drafted would have devastating effects on victims and their families and our crime rates,” stated Paige Clarkson, ODAA President and Marion County District Attorney.
Click here to download Feb 10th Measure 11 Press Release
Click here to download Measure 11 Executive Summary & Fact Sheet
ODAA Ballot Measure 11 Press Release (January 12, 2021)
The Oregon District Attorneys Association met today on the cusp of Oregon’s 2021 Legislative Session to discuss Ballot Measure 11 mandatory minimum sentencing. The following is the position of the ODAA regarding this important sentencing tool.
The Oregon District Attorneys Association promotes public safety values that include accountability for offenders through truth and transparent sentencing as well as the protection of and advocacy for crime victims and their rights. Measure 11 is consistent with those values as it is a proven tool to keep Oregonians safe by establishing minimum sentences for the most violent crimes such as rape, violent assaults and child sex abuse. Oregon voters overwhelming passed Measure 11 in 1994 and approved it again in 2000. Over the past two decades, Measure 11 has helped decrease Oregon’s violent crime rate to be among one of the lowest in the nation. Measure 11 provides crime victims and the community with certainty that violent criminals will be held accountable. While we believe it is always appropriate to discuss responsible reforms in our criminal justice system and we will engage with our public safety partners, our law makers and in our communities to do so, we strongly believe that Measure 11 should remain the law in order to keep Oregonians safe. Click here to download pdf.
ODAA Value Statement:
Justice, Public Safety and Public Confidence in the Criminal Justice System Requires:
Holding offenders accountable through truth and transparency in sentencing with appropriate sanctions
The protection of and advocacy for crime victims and their rights
A balanced approach to criminal justice, including adequate incarceration, proven treatment programs and crime reduction strategies
Collaboration with community and public safety partners for a system-wide approach to safety and strong support for public safety infrastructure
The promotion of equitable access to justice and equal treatment under the law
ODAA Mandatory Minimum Sentences Survey (December 16, 2020)
Portland – Today the Oregon District Attorneys Association released a survey of 600 registered voters that sought Oregonians opinions on the mandatory minimum sentences for serious violent felonies, known as Ballot Measure 11. The survey is meant to inform Legislative discussions set to take place in 2021.
“As the statewide association serving Oregon’s 36-elected District Attorneys across Oregon, we believe sentencing is always an important conversation for District Attorneys to have with their communities. This survey will help District Attorneys, and policy makers, better understand the public sentiment on mandatory minimum sentences for violent offenders,” said Michael Wu, Executive Director of the Oregon District Attorneys Association.
Generally speaking, the survey found the majority of Oregonians have a favorable opinion of BM 11 (54% - Q3). In addition, 78.3% oppose the Legislature reducing mandatory minimum sentences for offenders convicted of violent felonies like murder, forcible rape, armed robbery, and kidnapping (Q5 + Q6) and only 4% support decreasing the mandatory prison sentence for violent felonies (Q8).
The survey also indicates Oregonians are open to conversations about revisiting mandatory minimum prison sentences for certain lower-level assaults and robberies (50% - Q7) and more judicial discretion in sentencing (57.9% - Q9).
The statewide survey was conducted by Fallon Research on December 10th - 14th with a +/- of 4% estimated overall margin of sampling error. Click here to see survey results.
Oregon DA's Oppose Ballot Measure 110 (October 5, 2020)
Argument in Opposition
Oregon’s District Attorneys Urge Your NO Vote on Measure 110
District Attorneys across Oregon urge your NO vote on Measure 110, a dangerous approach to our drug addiction crisis. This measure recklessly decriminalizes possession of the most dangerous types of drugs, including methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and ecstasy.
This measure is the wrong answer to our drug addiction crisis.
Oregon leads the country in pain reliever misuse (1st), methamphetamine use (2nd), prevalence of mental illness (3rd) and cocaine use (4th) and yet we are nearly last (48th) in access to treatment.
Decriminalization will lead to an increase in acceptability of dangerous drugs, normalizing hazardous experimentation for our youth and increasing accessibility, surging supply and lowering costs of dangerous street drugs.
Law Enforcement is an important partner in this public health crisis but Measure 110 will all but remove them from this conversation.
Today, possession of most drugs are only misdemeanor offenses – which means people do not go to prison for simple possession, rather, they are connected with treatment options including Drug Courts and innovative diversion programs that are life-saving bridges to resources, lending support and motivation for success and early intervention, making all our communities safer.
District Attorneys Across Oregon Urge Your NO Vote on Measure 110:
John Haroldson, Benton County
John Foote, Clackamas County
Ron Brown, Clatsop County
Jeff Auxier, Columbia County
Wade Whiting, Crook County
Josh Spansail, Curry County
Rick Wesenberg, Douglas County
Marion Weatherford, Gilliam County
Joseph Lucas, Harney County
John Sewell, Hood River County
Beth Heckert, Jackson County
Steven Leriche, Jefferson County
Josh Eastman, Josephine County
Patty Perlow, Lane County
Doug Marteeny, Linn County
Dave Goldthorpe, Malheur County
Paige Clarkson, Marion County
Justin Nelson, Morrow County
Aaron Felton, Polk County
William Porter, Tillamook County
Dan Primus, Umatilla County
Kelsie McDaniel, Union County
Rebecca Frolander, Wallowa County
Kevin Barton, Washington County
Gretchen Ladd, Wheeler County
Brad Berry, Yamhill County
(This information furnished by James O'Rourke, No On Measure 110 - Volunteer Coordinator.)
ODAA IP 44 Statement
The Oregon District Attorneys Association strongly opposes IP 44 as a dangerous approach to the addiction crisis in our State. This measure recklessly decriminalizes possession of the most dangerous types of drugs including methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and ecstasy. This is not the best way to address this crisis and improve Oregon’s response to addiction. Read More
Oregon Untested Sexual Assault Kit Project
Oregon recently completed the untested sexual assault kit (USAK) project which was funded primarily through a grant from the Office of the District Attorney, New York County (DANY). Including Multnomah County, a total of 15 District Attorney’s Offices participated in this project. Our success of becoming one of the first states to fully eliminate its sexual assault forensic evidence kit backlog and to also implement legislative policies that ensure consistent testing practices in the future is significantly tied to the investment and commitment of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr., and Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill. Eliminating Oregon’s backlog of sexual assault forensic evidence kits does more than just pushing a reset button. It recognizes the mistakes of the past and helps to restore confidence in our public safety system. For too long, survivors of sexual assault were left fighting for a voice. Today, through our trauma informed practices, we work with survivors of sexual assault every day to ensure they understand their rights as crime victims. We make sure they are informed of every step of the process. We make sure that their voice is not only heard, but that we listen and that we are responsive.
The attached report details the results, and statewide impact, of this project.
George Floyd Statement
ODAA is disturbed and saddened to see the tragic death of George Floyd. We are committed to working with our partners in law enforcement and our partners in communities throughout Oregon to promote justice for everyone regardless of skin color, to ensure accountability for anyone whose duty is to serve the public, and stand against any form of hate or bias.
Death Row Story Statement
As prosecutors, we have significant concerns about the Department of Corrections apparent plan to abolish death row and move those sentenced to death to other housing options within DOC. We have not seen the full plan nor do we know all the details. What we do know is that we are now contacting victims’ families to give them this news. And this news will not be welcome.
The permanent segregation of the most dangerous of Oregon’s inmates on death row has historically occurred for very valid safety and security reasons. Unlike other areas in prison, Death Row meant that inmates would be kept separate from most other people most of the time. The safety of our communities is just one obvious reason for that. These inmates have committed the most heinous of crimes. They are cop killers, child murderers, and serial sexual predators who have committed Aggravated Murder. They have wreaked unimaginable havoc upon the lives of their victims. And a unanimous jury necessarily found that they pose a future danger to society in order to decide that the death penalty was appropriate. Keeping them in permanent isolation from society is but a small consequence in comparison to what they have done. And yet it still serves as one form of appropriate punishment for their crimes and keeps our neighborhoods safe, even if execution was never a real possibility in this state under recent Governors.
But the safety of the community within the walls of the prison is also a real and significant concern and is another reason why the isolation of death row is so necessary. Several of these death row inmates have killed other inmates. Their restrictive death row accommodations are the only real punishment left for those that kill inside. Many have abysmal criminal and disciplinary records from their numerous prior incarcerations including threatening staff, crafting weapons and assaulting people while in custody. They pose a continual risk to correctional officials, medical professionals, educators and other inmates should they be walking free in general population. The best predictor of future behavior is prior behavior. One need only look at the atrocious crimes committed by these individuals to know they are a continual risk should they have access to and influence over other people within the Department of Corrections.
We hope that the Department of Corrections will continue to assess the appropriateness of this plan and will consider the negative impact this drastic change will have upon victims and upon our communities both inside and outside prison walls.
Oregon District Attorneys Oppose Governor Brown’s Plan for Early Release of Convicted Felons
During this crisis we must strike a balance between public health, public safety and justice. ODAA has significant public safety concerns about convicted criminals, many of whom are violent, being released prior to the completion of their sentences. Such actions undermine truth in sentencing and discount the safety and security of victims who trusted in a sentence handed down by the court. We strongly oppose mass release of prison inmates and call upon the Governor and the Department of Corrections to meet their duty to keep our communities safe. Click here to read ODAA's letter to Governor Brown.
District Attorneys Support Support Special Session to Fix SB 1013
ODAA supports the special session to fix the problems with Oregon’s Aggravated Murder law caused by Senate Bill 1013. While we continue to believe this change to Oregon’s death penalty laws should have been referred back to the voters, we support fixing Senate Bill 1013 by clarifying that it is not retroactive and will only apply to new crimes going forward. We appreciate Governor Brown’s collaboration on addressing this problem and look forward to working toward a solution that protects crime victims and communities throughout Oregon.
The ODAA has received inquiries about our report “ODAA: An Examination of Juvenile Measure 11 in Oregon Today.” We would like to take the opportunity to answer questions posed and to further explain our position relating to Juvenile Measure 11."
The Changing Role of the District Attorney
By Amy Weirich - The Memphian: https://www.ciclt.net/ul/ndaajustice
Salem pairs police with social workers to offer help instead of jail
By Rachel Alexander – Salem Reporter: https://www.salemreporter.com/posts/333/salem-pairs-police-with-social-workers-to-offer-help-instead-of-jail
Opinion: Oregon District Attorneys Association Supports Jury Change
Oregon Officials Call for Changes of Laws on Criminally Insane
5 Things We Learned About Race And Drug Crimes From New Oregon Report
Oregon Appeals Court Hears Challenge To Non-Unanimous Convictions
Oregon crime labs drowning in urine samples
State v. Mitchell
State v. Bonarov
News Locker: www.newslocker.com/en-us/region/portland/da-multnomah-co-porch-pirate-receives-prison-sentence-for-swiping-packages/ (News aggregator site)
State v. Walsh
Gay Star News: www.gaystarnews.com/article/trans-woman-shot-while-grappling-gun-from-man-in-detroit-gas-station/
State v. El Masry
Atlanta Black Star: atlantablackstar.com/2018/07/24/food-cart-owner-who-threw-sriracha-sauce-at-black-woman-agrees-to-pay-her-1k-to-have-charges-dropped/
Lewiston Tribune: lmtribune.com/northwest/food-cart-owner-who-used-slur-will-pay/article_dd90c560-c999-58be-a4aa-e921c070ae49.html
Herald and News: www.heraldandnews.com/news/oregon/oregon-digest/article_d1eac8d0-789d-5332-8099-b7e3b6f01a40.html
The Raw Story: www.rawstory.com/2018/07/racist-food-cart-owner-agrees-pay-1000-black-woman-doused-hot-sauce-change-dispute/
Willamette Week: www.wweek.com/news/2018/07/20/downtown-food-cart-assault-harrassment-case-ends-in-civil-compromise/
The Philomath Express: www.gazettetimes.com/philomathexpress/around-oregon-july/article_fe9ec710-061e-57ee-b04a-f1dc25f64d9d.html
The Grio: thegrio.com/2018/07/25/food-truck-worker-caught-on-video-spewing-racial-slurs-at-black-woman-to-pay-1000-fine/
State v. Hickman
Portland Tribune: portlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/401472-297645-woman-choked-to-death-in-n-portland-van-police-say
State v. English
State v. Whiteaker
Columbian: www.columbian.com/news/2018/jul/26/driver-indicted-for-manslaughter-8-years-after-oregon-crash/ (Via AP feed)
KOIN: www.koin.com/news/crime/driver-indicted-for-manslaughter-8-years-after-oregon-crash/1325633166 (Via AP feed)
Seattle Times: www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/driver-indicted-for-manslaughter-8-years-after-oregon-crash/ (Via AP feed)
Daily Mail: www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5997119/Man-crashed-pregnant-womans-car-charged-manslaughter-dies.html (UK based)
KPTV: www.kptv.com/story/38698911/police-womans-body-found-in-n-portland-man-arrested-on-murder-charge (MCDA mentioned as part of investigative response team)
KOIN: www.koin.com/news/crime/tipster-to-cops-woman-murdered-in-n-portland/1314840851 (MCDA mentioned as part of investigative response team)
KPTV: | Facebook post: https://es-la.facebook.com/fox12oregon/posts/10156705203898701 (State v. Trybom)
West Linn Tidings: portlandtribune.com/wlt/95-news/401537-297814-former-wlpd-chief-two-officers-named-in-lawsuit (Shull case | Civil compromise | Asked the reporter to correct inaccurate information about MCDA “dismissing” charges.)
Oregonian: www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2018/07/jacob_tanzer_a_lion_of_the_leg.html (Death of Jacob Tanzer)
Portland Tribune: pamplinmedia.com/pt/9-news/401906-298306-multnomah-deputy-dwight-richey-faces-criminal-charges (MCDA mentioned for prior case involving current victim)
Oregonian: pamplinmedia.com/pt/9-news/401906-298306-multnomah-deputy-dwight-richey-faces-criminal-charges (MCDA mentioned [now re-written] about potential conflict; ODOJ will handle prosecution responsibilities.)
Oregonian: www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2018/07/lawsuit_over_toddlers_death_in.html (MCDA mentioned as investigative agency)
KATU: katu.com/news/local/multnomah-county-sheriffs-deputy-dwight-richey-indicted-on-several-sex-abuse-charges (MCDA mentioned as requesting special prosecutor)
Advocate.com: www.advocate.com/crime/2018/7/27/portland-police-arrest-man-attack-trans-woman (MCDA mentioned as conducting ongoing investigation; this link has been shared extensively across social media.)
Pink News: www.pinknews.co.uk/2018/07/27/portland-man-arrested-after-punching-trans-woman-in-unprovoked-lgbt-hate-crime/ (MCDA mentioned as conducting ongoing investigation; this is an international LGTBQ site.)
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